Thursday, September 25, 2008

California Bans Texting While Driving

Drivers will be banned from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle starting Jan. 1 under a bill Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Wednesday.

California has already banned drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving essentially requiring them to use hands-free headsets in the car. That law already banned juvenile drivers from sending text messages while driving, but it did not prohibit adults from doing so.

The new law, Senate Bill 28 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, bans drivers from using their phones to any type of electronic messages. This includes text, email or instant messages. Drivers caught sending messages while driving will face fines of $76 for a first offense, including state and local fees.

(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.
(b) As used in this section "write, send, or read a text-based
communication" means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.

"Building on legislation already helping save lives in California, I am happy to sign this bill because it further encourages safe and responsible driving," Schwarzenegger said in a release. "Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers' hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians."

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