California Makes Texting while Driving Illegal


It is now illegal to send or read text messages while driving in California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on Wednesday, September 24. Motorists in California have been required to use hands-free devices while talking on cell phones since July, while drivers below the age of 18 may not use any electronic devices.

The new California law states that first time offenders will be fined $20 and repeat offenders must pay $50 for using any electronic device, not only cell phones, to send and read messages beginning next year.

California joins seven other states and the District of Columbia in banning text-messaging and the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

There have been reports of several accidents across the nation that are the result of a driver using their cell phone, either to text or to talk. A study conducted at Harvard University estimates that accidents resulting from inattentive drivers using their cell phones kill 200 and injure nearly half a million people a year.