Good news for drivers looking to make use of their handheld device, since it is now illegal in California to talk or text on it. A new state law makes them able to use it to show proof of insurance in the event of a traffic stop or collision.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 1708, which makes California the seventh state in the country that allows motorists to show they have auto insurance via their smartphone or other mobile electronic device.

Drivers can still opt to hand over a piece of paper from their glove box instead, the Association of California Insurance Companies said in a news release.

The decisions of whether or not allow paperless proof of insurance was a sticky situation for legislators. On the one hand they wanted to make the process simpler for drivers and insurance companies, not to mention an attempt to decrease the costs involved in printing insurance cards, on the other hand they have been battling to convince drivers not to use handheld devices while they drive. They did not want to be seen as being wishy-washy in the middle of an all-out war against distracted driving.

So far the news is being hailed as a step forward by insurance companies, drivers and even safety advocates, all of whom say that if a driver does need to show proof of insurance they will do so while their vehicle is safely parked, meaning there is no danger of anyone getting confused about the intention of the law.

So far, so good.