California Law Outlaws Text Messages While Driving

SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law
making it illegal to read or send text messages while driving in California.

The bill by Sen. Joe Simitian imposes a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 for repeat offenders using any electronic devices to read or send messages, starting next year.

Schwarzenegger says the law he signed Wednesday encourages drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

It follows previous laws restricting the use of cell phones while driving by Simitian, a Democrat from Palo Alto. Since July, motorists have been required to use hands-free devices, and drivers under age 18 can't use any electronic devices.

The California Highway Patrol doesn't keep statistics on crashes related to text messaging.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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