In California, it’s not just texting and driving that is illegal. You’re essentially not allowed to use your phone in any way. That means no calls, no pictures, no videos — nothing. If the police see you with your phone in your hand, you can face legal trouble.

Why is the law so strict? Other states have also banned texting and driving, but not even all of them have done that. Why did lawmakers in California take things so far?

There are a lot of reasons, but it all comes back to distraction. People get distracted by their phones in numerous different ways. Texting is perhaps the main one, but that does not mean it’s the only one.

For instance, one police officer gave this account of what he saw on the state’s highways: “Sometimes when we’re at scenes of accidents, I have people that pass by during, trying to film the incident and that is definitely unsafe to drive like that through an incident.”

People want to get those striking videos to share with friends on social media but that type of distraction can cause secondary accidents. It can put police officers and other emergency workers in danger. That’s why California made the law so strict. It also makes it easier for officers to give out tickets since they don’t have to prove someone was specifically texting at the time.

It is important for you to know how this law works, especially if you’re not from California, and you’re not used to this strict type of policing. Make sure you also know your rights if you get a ticket.