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California Governor Vetoes Tougher Distracted Driving Penalties

December 31, 1969

Governor Jerry Brown again vetoed an attempt to raise the fines for distracted driving in the state of California.

According to, the recent veto means that there have now been two vetoes for hikes in distracted driving fines.
"Upping the (distracted driving) fines may satisfy the punitive instincts of some, but I severely doubt that it will further reduce violations," said Brown.

Our Costa Mesa accident attorneys understand that if this would have passed then the fine for distracted driving in the state would have increased by a mere $10. The plan also upped point violations for those busted more than once engaging in this dangerous driving behavior. Again, this action was vetoed. It was shot down after last year's proposal to double the fines for driving while using a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving. In justifying the veto, the governor cited a burden on "people of ordinary means."

Brown was able to guarantee that drivers in the state of California would be able to talk on hands-free phones. This was a measure that was signed back in July -- a move supported by makers of Smartphones and automakers.

In the state of California:

-Drivers over the age of 17 are not allowed to use hand-held cell phones.

-No driver is allowed to text message while driving. This includes reading, writing or sending texts, emails or any other form of text-based communication device. As of January, drivers are allowed to operate hands-free and voice-controlled text messaging devices.

-Minor drivers are prohibited from using any kind of phone behind the wheel, whether it's hands-free or not.

-Drivers of transit buses and school buses are not allowed to use cell phones behind the wheel.

As it stands now, drivers who are busted face fines of $20 for a first-time offense and $50 for other convictions. When you factor in other penalties and court costs, you're looking at tickets close to $200. What's worse than the tickets, the fees and the fines is the risk that you're putting yourself and your passengers at for a potentially fatal car accident.

The truth of the matter is that driver distractions are the number one cause of most car accidents and near-accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80 percent of accidents and close to 70 percent of near-accidents involve some kind of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash!

Regardless of ticket fines and fees, you should be keeping your eyes on the road and your mind on driving. It's a life or death matter. Stay safe and stay alert out there, especially during the holiday travel season when our roadways are busier and your risks for a car accident are much higher.

Costa Mesa Injury Attorney Vincent Howard is known for building solid cases for his clients while protecting their legal rights. Call (800) 872-5925 for a free and confidential consultation today!

Similar articles:

L.A. Traffic Safety: Take the Pledge with AT&T to Drive Distraction Free!, California Injury Lawyers, August 11, 2012

As California Passes Law Allowing for Hands-Free E-Mailing and Texting While Driving, Will This Lead to More Traffic Collisions?
, California Injury Lawyers, July 30, 2012