Joe Simitian | 511 Contra Costa

California State Senate passes bill proposing tougher penalties for hands-free & texting violations

[Photo by photosbystan]

On Feb. 22, 2010 Senator Joe Simitian introduced a bill (SB 1475) that proposed tougher penalties for hands-free and texting violations in California. Last week, the bill passed in the California State Senate by a vote of 21-16.
Under SB 1475, fines would increase for motorists who text while driving or who use cell phones without a hands-free device. The bill would apply the same rules to bicyclists–who originally were not included in the hands-free law–although with lower penalties than drivers of vehicles.
Here is a breakdown of the bill’s features:

  • The fine for a first hands-free or texting offense will increase to $50, and to $100 for a subsequent offenses
  • A violation of either of the two laws will add a “point” on motorists’ driving records
  • A portion of the increased fine revenue will be used to provide for a public awareness program
  • The hands-free/no texting law applies to bicyclists.
  • Cyclists would pay $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense, would not be subject to additional ticket fees/penalties, and would not receive a point on their driving record for violations.

The bill will now move to the State Assembly for consideration.
Source: Senate passes Simitian bill to strengthen hands-free and texting laws – June 3, 2010 Press Release

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