Hefty Fines For Drivers Who Violate Hands-Free Cellphone Law

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Drivers caught violating California’s hands-free cellphone law may soon face hefty penalties.

In an effort to persuade drivers not to break the law, a bill passed by the state legislature, and awaiting the governor’s signature, would raise the penalty from $20 to $309 for a first offense.

A second offense would add a point to your driving record.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler:

Despite California’s ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving, it’s estimated that 40 percent of motorists in the state still use the devices to talk or text.

The California Highway Patrol has stepped up enforcement of the hands-free law, issuing 60,000 tickets statewide in April.

Palo Alto State Senator Joe Simitian, who authored the new legislation, said the CHP’s recent action should be enough to convince the governor to sign the bill.

“They see the damage that distracted driving does out there on the highway. I’m hoping that they’ll be talking to the governor and sharing with him their experience out there on California highways.”

The bill also would make using a cellphone while cycling illegal, although the penalty would be far lower.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Matt Bigler
Comments

One Comment

  1. babalouey says:

    Love it, love it, love it! Raise the fees sky high to help curb the epidemic of stupid people who conistently break the law. Cell phones may be great when you are broke down on the road… and that’s when they should be used. When you are stopped. Orrrr like the law says, hands free, if you MUST use the thing. Why stop at fees just cell phones though? I think they should ticket speeders and lawbreakers on the highway. If they did, CA would have alot of money. You break the law, you pay the price! That’s the way it is.

    1. MCMASHER says:

      YOU STILL GET TICKETS FOR BREAKING THE LAW ON THE HIGHWAYS, ESPECIALLY SPEEDING. SEEMS LIKE THEY’RE RAISING THE PRICE TO A RIDICULOUS NUMBER TO BRING IN MORE MONEY FOR THE STATE, USING A LAW THAT IS BROKEN MORE THAN MOST. I THINK IT’S KIND OF A CHEAP SHOT BUT I GET THE IDEA. THE LAW IS FLAWED ANYWAY BECAUSE, FOR EXAMPLE, HOW DOES AN OFFICER KNOW IF YOUR TEXTING ON YOUR IPHONE OR JUST SWITCHING SONGS ON THE IPOD APP. ALSO, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING ONE HAND ON THE WHEEL AND TALKING TO SOMEONE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT, THE LAW MIGHT AS WELL ENFORCE 2-HANDS ON THE WHEEL AT ALL TIMES (THOUGH THAT WOULD BE EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS). I THINK THE STATE JUST REALLY NEEDS THE MONEY AND FIGURED THAT MAKING THE ROADS A LITTLE SAFER ON THE SIDE COULDN’T HURT. IS IT A WIN WIN FOR BOTH THE STATE AND ITS CITIZENS OR JUST THE STATE?

      1. Boogie says:

        Evidentky you are ignorant of the law regarding the use of cell phones. I suggest you read up on the California vehicle code regarding their use.. Flawed or not, like it or not, it is the law and we must obey. If you continue to talk without a hands free device and blatenly disregard the law, then you are nothing more than an arrogant a-hole and deserve whatever punishment the law deems necessary.

        ps why the caps?

  2. Choice says:

    Lets hope empty wallets will help to remind people to hang up their phones.

  3. CC says:

    Good places for a phones while driving….. the glove compartment, back seat, purse, trunk and for those who still have a problem.resisting…. leave the phone at home.

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