The new year brings a host of new laws across the country that go into effect starting Sunday — from restrictions on holding a cell phone while driving to greater freedom for carrying a gun in public.
While many states already restrict the use of cell phones in the car, California is now taking that precaution a step further. As of Sunday, it’s illegal for drivers to hold their phones behind the wheel. The devices must be mounted and can be used only for functions that require a single tap or swipe, like answering a call.
“If you’re not paying attention and something happens in front of you, by the time your mind thinks about it and you react to it, it is definitely too late,” says Officer Jesus Chavez of the California Highway Patrol.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia becomes the first major American city with a tax on sugary sodas — one and a half cents an ounce. That’s 24 cents for a 16-ounce drink. The industry is challenging the law in court.