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Governor expands hands-free driving laws in California

Californians will soon face broader restrictions on using their smartphones while driving.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday to expand existing laws that ban people from calling and texting while driving on California roads unless they have hands-free devices.

The first restrictions on cellphone use while driving in California were passed in 2006, when mobile devices were much less sophisticated than modern smartphones. 

The legislation signed Monday broadens the laws to encompass other distracting activities drivers can perform on their phones, said Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), the bill's author.

It will explicitly prohibit people from using a mobile phone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode. In addition to texting and calling, the new law aims to prohibit other cellphone uses while driving, such as taking photos or streaming video.

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