Here is an overview of the two cell phone laws that take effect
Tuesday in California:
- Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile service device while driving. They cannot talk on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, nor can they text-message. They will be allowed to make calls in an emergency.
- Drivers 18 and over must use a hands-free device when using their cell phone while driving. Text-messaging is not specifically banned for adults, but the California Highway Patrol said they can be cited for negligence under existing laws.
There is no grace period for violators. Beginning Tuesday, anyone seen driving while holding a cell phone to their ear will be subject to base fines of $20 for the first ticket and $50 for subsequent tickets, plus additional fees that will more than triple the fine.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles will not assign a violation point to motorists' driving records.
Drivers of all ages - with or without a hands-free device - can use their cell phones in an emergency.
On the Net:
The Department of Motor Vehicles:
The Public Policy Institute of California study:
The California Highway Patrol: http://www.chp.ca.gov/
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data
National Conference of State Legislatures: http://www.ncsl.org/
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)