Driving While In-text-icated Could Get Serious

The "there oughta be a law" guy wants to quintuple texting fines

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010  |  Updated 12:06 PM PDT
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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, USA - OCTOBER 12, 2009 Photo illustration for texting and driving. (Photo by Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images)

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Texting Law Could Get Serious

The author of the state's texting law says in its current form it doesn't go nearly far enough.
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 It looks like the current fines for texting while driving may not be the ticket for California drivers, so the law's author is trying to increase the pain.

State Senator Joe Simitian wants to hit us where it hurts in our bank account.  He wants to double the fines for talkers and quintuple it for those who text at the wheel.

Right now it will cost you $20 if you are caught holding your cell phone for any purpose.

Simitian wants talking and driving to cost you $50 and texting and driving to cost you $100.  Slap on court fees and surcharges and you will be paying close to $200 for the first offense.

One Bay Area parent likes the plan.  "I think its a smart idea, but I don't know if it will stop them they're so used to it its a part of their lives," Laura Sarley said.

Starley hopes the fear of fines will stop drivers like her daughter to stop driving while in-texticated.  She says right now that isn't working.

Simitian's bill would also add a "point" on motorists' driving records for violations.   And if that wasn't enough, it  would extend both laws to bicyclists.

And while many of us have anecdotal evidence that people are basically ignoring the law all together, it appears to be cutting down on traffic collisions.

The CHP says accident numbers were down by 50 percent in the first six months the law went into effect.

Lori Preuitt still thinks grabbing a blue tooth and sticking it in your ear while legally answering your cell phone is more dangerous than putting the phone to your ear.

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