Cell phone fines for drivers may increase

August 16, 2011

Legislation that would significantly increase fines for drivers who talk on cell phones or text was approved Monday and needs only Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. [Chronicle]

The bill, SB 28, also prohibits bicyclists from texting or talking on a phone, though the fines are lower for bikers than drivers.

Fines for talking without a hands-free device or texting while driving would increase to $50 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses. Combined with other penalties and assessments, the total penalty would be about $328 for the first offense and $528 for additional violations.

The penalty for bicyclists under the new law would be $20 for first-time offenders and $50 for repeat offenders. There would be no additional costs.

The legislation, which the governor is expected to sign, was authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, (D-Palo Alto), who argued that cell phone-related accidents in California have decreased dramatically since the initial ban was introduced.











  1. mototrekker says:

    You know, I can still roll a joint single handed without spilling my beer while driving down a country road. What’s the big deal here?

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. R.Hodin says:

    Most posters on this topic seem to be under the impression that driving is a right. It is not.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
    • SLORider says:

      That assertion can be argued two ways:

      (1) You are technically correct; however that has little to do with extraordinarily punitive fines.

      (2) You are somewhat incorrect: How many citizens are denied a license? You’ve got to have some serious issues to not have the right to attain a license like everyone else.

      I don’t view driving privilege as part of this dispute. It’s simply about government controlling behavior via fines, which I don’t find compatible with the label “Liberal”. Could it be you are more “authoritarian” than I?

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. SLORider says:

    Open season on freedom:

    – Flat sheets ILLEGAL
    – Light bulbs ILLEGAL (only mercury-laden garish green bulbs are approved)
    – No feeding the ducks
    – No texting
    – Wear your seatbelt
    – 4 year old’s lemonade stand shut down for no permit

    Lest you be compelled by armed government force.

    And so many think this is good. Do you also pretend to be “Liberal”? Because you aren’t.

    (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
    • winedude says:

      Unfortunately, off-road vehicles are still allowed in California. Other than their use on farms and ranches, the damned things should be banned. Save me your stupid platitudes about what a fun family activity it is. If you need to drive around with your young kids to have some family fun, you can’t be very intelligent. Recreational use of these things is a blatant waste of precious energy resources.

      (-9) 23 Total Votes - 7 up - 16 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        And this relates to cell phones how????

        (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
      • SLORider says:

        Whoa! Angry and off-topic! LOOKOUT!

        (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
      • rallyraid says:

        Yes, almost as big of waste of resources as what your name implies your a victim of, or perhaps you cannot spell. Most see your apparent purpose in life as legalized drunkenness by douche bags who think their living a better life of some sort of exquisite sophistication, all the while depleting our water supplies, wasting energy processing their swill for winos like you and hiring illegals to pick their crops while they live in decadent bliss on your dime. Ah yes, cant wait till my children can drink, it should keep them occupied or far to wasted if nothing else to venture far from SLO and into the back country of this great country to see what jackasses like you want to prevent access to. Suck it up drunkard, you’ll die of liver failure long before off roading is made illegal.
        Have a swill day :)

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
        • winedude says:

          I admit that I made an outrageous, off-topic reply to a very off-topic reply to the topic at hand, cell phones & distracted driving. It achieved exactly the effect I was looking for…show how dumb the list that SLO(w)Rider put out there…talk about off-topic…flat sheets?

          If you want to see the back country of this great land, then you can walk back there, just like I’ve learned to do. I sure as hell don’t want to hear dirt bikes, or any other gas powered engines, when I’m in the John Muir Wilderness.

          You have no idea how much I do or do not drink, so calling me a drunkard is very foolish on your part. But, I bet it made you feel like a real man, so I’ll let it slide. I did have 2 glasses of an excellent 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon and it sure didn’t come from this county, although it was made in the Central Coast.

          (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
          • SLORider says:

            Flat sheets are in front of the Legislature right now. What does the JMT have to do with anything? Hyperbolic nonsense. Have another glass.

            (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              Okay, I just read the article in that ‘other’ paper about the flat sheets. I’m sure that there are hundreds of silly things like this that go before congress that don’t pass. On the other hand there are a few that do pass but I’m sure this one won’t make it.

              (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      Lemonade=cell phones=ducks. Bad bad bad comparisons. It’s not really fair to lump everything in together they are all different. Flat sheets? You’ve lost me on that one.

      We do have rights and I have a right to drive in my car and keep my family safe from drunks and cell phone users. Do you also believe that we should allow people to drink and drive?

      It’s unfortunate that many people don’t have commensense to understand these things and in reality there are many many people that don’t have the commensense to do the right thing so they must be lead like children. Texting while driving is dangerous to all of us, if it just effected them then I wouldn’t care but it doesn’t, it effects my family. Seat belts also effect every single one of us. If people are too stupid to believe that they’re not safer with seat belts then we need laws to help those brainless people. It’s not a childs fault if their parents are too stupid to belt them or put them in a car seat. It’s not my fault, why should I have to pay for thier emergency room visits when a simple seat belt might save that visit to the ER or prevent emergancy equipement and personal from being diverted from other accidents.

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
      • SLORider says:

        I normally don’t chide the typoqueen about grammar, but three times earns a mention: I believe you meant “affect”.

        The common thread in what you feel are disparate issues is whether or not government coercion is appropriate. I believe in more freedom. Do you believe in “less”?

        So, next, comes along the “I have to pay” for the costs argument (emergency room, insurance, etc.) — this is a fallacious argument because you SHOULDN’T have to pay for it. I’m not in favor of government picking up the tab for everything. Are you?

        By creating a society where government picks up everyone’s tab, we create a situation where government can coerce every behavior based upon a cost.

        Should government force you to eat healthy? Should government force you to exercise? Why should I pay for your early disease and sickness? SAME ARGUMENT.

        Government should NOT mandate or compel choice of light bulb, nor impose draconian fines for cell phones. Just like it should not regulate marriage or marijuana.

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
        • The Gimlet Eye says:

          Well said, SLORider. You sound like a disciple of Frédéric Bastiat:

          “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.”

          (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
          • SLORider says:

            Try the great G.W.:

            “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

            (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
        • bobfromsanluis says:

          Just when I thought there wasn’t anything you wrote that I agreed with, your very last sentence is the only thing in your comment that makes sense to me, otherwise, government mandates do work, do make a difference in our lives. If there were no government mandates, do you think that seat belts would be standard equipment on automobiles, or that emissions on cars would less than half of what they used to be from the sixties and seventies? When the California Air Resources Board mandated that auto makers would have to make vehicles with no emissions, many different automakers actually made electric vehicles that really worked, like the GM EV-1, a car that fit the needs of some 90% of drivers upwards of 85 to 90 % of the time. Of course, when an ex-oil executive was appointed to the board and removed the mandate, GM recalled 99.9% of those leased vehicles and had them crushed. I do agree that some government mandates can be overreaching and can border on the silly or absurd, but let’s not dismiss all government mandates as something to be avoided.

          (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
          • Typoqueen says:

            Well said bob.

            (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
          • SLORider says:

            Hi Bob,

            I’m glad we agree on something, and there is no question government serves a purpose. The question is where is the line? Mandating fitted sheets, light bulbs… what next?

            Since you brought up the EV-1, what about all the reasonably working cars crushed by “Cash for cars”? Many people turned in fine working older autos that weren’t gas hogs just to get cash to buy a new car. What a waste.

            A guy can’t sell hot dogs off a boat to other boaters at lake Paradise because his boat doesn’t provide restrooms. A girl can’t have a lemonade stand. Dan DeVaul can’t provide sub-standard housing to the homeless. All in the name of some grand good for society.

            Government shouldn’t be involved in value judgments lest it judge you too.

            (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          Guilty on the grammar, the bright side is that I’m sure that as always you found more than that so thanks for not picking my post apart.

          I’m not for the govt. picking up the tab on ‘everything’ and I’m not saying that we should. Why does it have to be all or nothing? When comes to major health issues I feel that we shouldn’t let people die, suffer or spread diseases if we can prevent those things and if it means us picking up the tab then yes we should do that. Some people can’t help their circumstances, we shouldn’t let them suffer. Also if we don’t take care of people with communicable diseases then we are only hurting ourselves. Just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that I we should pick up the tab for everything. I feel that if someone gets a concussion and can’t pay for it that they should be billed. If they don’t pay then their paycheck should be docked. If they don’t work and have absolutely no way to pay then yes we should pay. If someone chooses to have a bad diet, drink too much etc then fine we can’t prevent that. A large percentage of the homeless people are vets. Should we just abandon them? Most of them are are crazy or have PTSD because they were fighting for this country (supposedly). My point is everyone has a story and until we walk in their shoes we can’t judge them. Do you feel that we should let a 60 year women with mental health issues get sick and die homeless or suffer in pain? What do you feel that we should do with that woman? Do you think that we should allow drunk driving?………….and yes there are plenty more typos/grammar errors where these came from.

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
          • SLORider says:

            Short answer: Government should be as uninvolved as possible, not the other way around. Civilized society does not thrive by force or coercion. Take off your Liberal badge and “Coexist” bumper sticker if you’re a proponent of compelling behavior.

            (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              No no, do you believe that drunk driving should be legal? Should we help the elder woman with mental issues? I am really curious about how you feel about those things.

              I agree that govt. should be involved as little as possible. We seem to disagree on what that involvement should be. You make it sound cut and dry, either-or but it’s not. It isn’t smart to talk on the cell phone while driving and it can ‘affect’ me and my family. If what you do doesn’t effect others then fine but if it does then other people also have rights. Not all of us agree with each other on what should be legal what shouldn’t, I don’t agree that there shouldn’t be any gun laws, some don’t agree that there should be drunk driving laws or seat belt laws. What makes one opinion better than the other? If they have any effect on public safety, financially or even public comfort then there should be laws to help everyones quality of life because not everyone agrees with what’s safe. I remember one guy that used to say that he refused to put his baby in a car seat because he felt that they weren’t safe, someone needs to protect that baby, it’s not her fault that her dad is a dip wad. That doesn’t make the govt. bad or intrusive it simply means that many people disagree and feel that the need protection from important issues can intrude in thier lives. What’s important to you might not be important to me.

              Civilized society dos thrive with force and coercion, name a civilized country that doesn’t. Somalia, Afghanistan, those are the only fairly lawless countries that I can think of at the moment.

              Yes, many typos.

              (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              I have yet to see fundraisers that have raised enough money to pay completely or even most of the bills for major medical problems. They help but that’s about it. What about continued support for that 60 year old women with mental disabilities? Just have constant fund raisers? I feel bad saying that as they are trying presently to raise money for Pastor Doug and Baby Naya but it’s true. To those helping please continue to help as it will help. Also, what about the 60 year old woman that doesn’t have community support? Your answer reminds me of when Bush said what a great country it is because that woman in the audience had to work multiple jobs to survive. What a great country it is when we have to go out and beg for medical care while knowing that we still won’t receive adequate care unless we are wealthy or have golden insurance (which most people can’t afford).

              (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. stopagenda21 says:

    If the state really wants to make money, they should tax bicyclist like auto’s $60 a year for riding in 45 mph zone or higher. been on price canyon road lately?

    (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
  5. afairgov says:

    I was talking to a police officer who told me that they’d do not usually give a ticket to a person who was talking on the phone and driving. The reason is cities don’t make much money on those tickets. I guess the police only enforce the laws that make money for the agency’s they work for.


    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  6. abigchocoholic says:

    It’s not talking on a phone that’s so dangerous. What’s the difference between talking on a phone and talking to a passenger? Oh, only one hand is on the wheel when you’re talking on the phone? Ok. Is there a law that both hands have to be on the wheel at all times? How many people drive with both hands on the wheel at all times? None. What’s the difference between talking on the phone v. holding a hamburger in one hand while talking to a passenger? Nothing. What’s the difference between talking on the phone and regularly reaching down to the cup holders etc. to reach food and drink? Nothing. We encourage drinking in the car. Cup holders everywhere. A woman looking into her mirror while she puts make-up on is much more dangerous than a person talking on a phone. Kind of hard to see that child crossing the road or that car stopping in front of you when you are looking at your eye lashes. Should we make make-up in the car illegal? Start training those police dogs to sniff out max factor and L’Oreal?

    What’s dangerous is texting because it absolutely causes the driver to take eyes off the road to read a text and unless the texter is a pro, to take eyes off the road to text. Texting is dangerous because you can’t do it and pay attention to the road. Anything that takes eyes off the road is dangerous. Talking on a phone does not require eyes off the road. It really is that simple.

    (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      No, there’s a big difference between talking to someone on the phone and talking in person. I have seen person after person on the phone that have no clue that they’re cutting off people or what’s going on around them. Look at these people on the phone, they are fixated looking straight ahead and they look as if they are completely in another world. When I first started with the cell phone thing I used to talk and drive and I couldn’t even remember driving to my destination. I have read that police believe that cell phone accidents will surpass drunk driving accidents. Talking on the phone requires using more of your brain than drinking a soda while driving although any distraction makes you more at risk but cell phones especially texting is worse than many other distractions.

      (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
      • abigchocoholic says:

        Did you think talking on the phone in the car was illegal? Come on, you know that’s not true right? You knew it’s only when one hand is off the wheel because that hand is holding a phone that makes it illegal, right? It’s one handed driving talking that’s illegal. It it’s no handed talking talk on the phone the entire trip.

        So try your reply one more time but this time focus and use an argument that makes sense within the law.

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          I have OnStar so of course I know the law. There is a difference between holding a phone, it’s one more thing for the brain to process, holding a phone, talking, driving, holding the steering wheel, watching the road. Sorry, I was talking on topic, you know,,peek up to the article for a refresher. The topic is hand held phones. Perhaps you are the one that needs to stay focused.

          (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
          • abigchocoholic says:

            First you said “No, there’s a big difference between talking to someone on the phone and talking in person. I have seen person after person on the phone that have no clue that they’re cutting off people or what’s going on around them.”

            Now you say “There is a difference between holding a phone, it’s one more thing for the brain to process, holding a phone”

            Do you see how you jumped from talking being the problem to holding a phone being the problem? Do you see how it’s too late to say holding the phone is the problem because you already said it was the talking that’s the problem?

            Do you realize it’s OK to hold a big gulp, hot cup of coffee, cigarette, make-up kit, toy poodle just not a little cell phone?

            (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              OMG, the topic is hand held phones, I didn’t jump, that’s the topic if you don’t get that then look at the picture in the article. This is from the article; “Fines for talking without a hands-free device or texting while driving” I’m not jumping. I am talking about people holding a phone while talking/texting on it, those are two different actions and in some cases even more actions for the brain to process ie pushing the numbers, looking up a number. It is a combined problem. Simply holding a phone isn’t the problem it’s using the phone and it’s not illegal to hold a phone if it you’re not using it. You can’t compare holding a big gulp to holding a phone and talking on it. Geez, it’s not that difficult, please whatever YOU do please don’t talk on the phone while driving

              (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  7. Paso_Guy says:

    This is overdue. A week doesn’t go buy where I don’t see some knucklehead swerving all over while texting.

    Should higher, I think!

    (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
  8. Nancy says:

    Watch out folks, the cops are hiding behind bushes looking to charge you with everything and anything they can. Gotta pay those salaries and benefits.

    (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down

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