The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Calif. Bill Seeks Higher Fines for Driver Handheld Phone Use

April 27, 2011

SACRAMENTO, CA - In hopes of further discouraging drivers from using handheld phones to talk or text, California state senators on April 25 approved a bill that would raise the base fine from $20 to $50 for a first offense and $50 to $100 for subsequent violations. 

If you add in fees and surcharges imposed by local governments and courts, a California driver could end up paying a total cost of $309 for a first offense, depending on where the ticket was issued, the Los Angeles Times reported. A second offense could cost as much as $509 -- up from the current maximum of about $300 -- and would add a point to the driver's record. 

The bill would also extend the handheld phone ban to bicyclists. There would be a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 fine for additional offenses by bicyclists. 

The bill, which passed in the Senate by a 24-12 vote, now goes to the Assembly.

California first passed a handheld phone ban for drivers nearly three years ago.

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