Text-messaging, 911 use among the many areas affected by new California laws
In 2009, messaging motorists will pay. Hospital workers who snoop will face tougher penalties too.
By Patrick McGreevy5:47 PM PST, December 31, 2008 Los Angeles Times
Californians must abide by dozens of new state laws taking effect Jan. 1, including bans on text-messaging while driving, electronic bingo machines and bidding on state contracts by companies that do business with the government of Sudan, which the U.S. has accused of genocide.
The California Highway Patrol plans no grace period before enforcing the law that takes effect today prohibiting the use of text-messaging devices -- including cellphones, BlackBerrys and laptop computers -- while driving, according to CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader. And a motorist does not have to be caught in a vehicle that is moving to get a ticket.
"Motorists may not text at a stoplight," she said. "They are still operating a vehicle and need to focus their attention on the safe operation of that vehicle."
Fines are $20 for first offenses and $50 for subsequent violations, Clader said.