California Cellphone Fines Could Rise Under Bill

August 31, 2012

California Gov. Jerry Brown will consider a bill that would raise the fine for illegally using a cellphone while driving in California from $20 to $30.

But the real cost for a first offense under the bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate would climb from about $160 to about $200, when court fees are included.

Repeat offenders would pay about $370, up from about $280. Repeat violations would also add points to drivers’ records, potentially increasing their insurance costs.

Senators sent SB1310 to the Democratic governor’s desk on a 28-9 vote.

Sen. Joe Simitian, a Palo Alto Democrat, says his bill will reduce deaths and collisions by discouraging using hand-held cellphones. The additional $10 fine would go to educate motorists.

Several Republicans said the fines are punitively high.

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