A law that would toughen penalties for drivers caught texting or talking without a hands-free device on their cell phone has landed on the Governor’s desk.
The measure, SB 28, was authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), and grew out of what he thinks is the success of similar laws he wrote and that have taken effect, according to a statement released Monday.
“While the numbers show that compliance is good and that California’s hands-free law is working, we can do better and save even more lives,” said Simitian, following the bill’s passage.
Here’s a breakdown of the proposed new law:
- Increase the base fines for violation of the hands free cell phone and texting-while-driving laws from $20 to $50 for a first offense, and from $50 to $100 for subsequent offenses;
- Make a violation of the hands free cell phone law, the texting law, or the teen safety law a driver’s license “point” on a second or subsequent offense;
- Apply these distracted driving laws to bicyclists at a lower total fine level of $20 for a first offense, and $50 for each subsequent offense;
- Use a portion of the increased fine revenue to establish and fund a cell phone related distracted driving education program in the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS); and;
- Allow the state to qualify for anticipated federal funding on cell phone related distracted driving.