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Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Governor vetoes higher fines for cellphones while driving

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday for the second year in a row vetoed a bill that would have raised the fine for drivers who illegally use cellphones. The bill, Senate Bill 1310 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, would have increased the base fine from $20 for a first offense to $30. “I believe the current fines and penalties of $213 and $336 for cellphone use and texting while driving are a powerful deterrent,” Brown said in his veto message,… Read More »

CHP boss sounds off on cellphone, texting, carpool violators

Drivers on their cellphones and drivers illegally using carpool lanes are among the two biggest gripes of Road Warrior readers. So with CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow dropping by the Petaluma police station last week to hand out traffic safety awards to the officers there, we asked him about CHP enforcement of those violations. On cellphones, he said it’s his top pet peeve — “it’s such a safety issue.” And the CHP is addressing the problem by trying to educate the… Read More »

State Senate votes to hike cellphone fines, penalize bicyclists, too

A Palo Alto state senator again is trying to raise the fine on motorists who illegally use cellphones and, for the first time, to fine bicyclists who text or talk on a hand-held phone. The state Senate on Monday approved 24-9 legislation by Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian calling for the new fines and sent it to the Assembly. The Legislature last year passed a similar bill by Simitian, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it. Last year’s bill would have raised… Read More »

Study: Traffic deaths dropped after cellphone ban

Fewer people have died on California’s roads and highways since a ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones took effect in July 2008, according to a study. The state Office of Traffic Safety on Monday reported the number of deaths of drivers who were using hand-held cellphones dropped 47 percent in the two years after the ban compared to the number of similar deaths during the two years before the ban. The study, commissioned by OTS and conducted by UC Berkeley’s… Read More »

Cellphones No. 1 traffic safety problem

Cellphone use by drivers is the No. 1 safety problem on California’s roads, a state survey finds. The survey won’t come as a surprise to Road Warrior readers who regularly report dangerous driving by motorists on cellphones. And it comes as the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday recommended that states ban all cellphone use, including hands-free, by drivers, except in emergencies. No state currently goes this far. Last year, 21.5 percent of Californians surveyed by the state Office of… Read More »

New cellphone crackdown today

Sonoma County police agencies today are joining with dozens of departments around the state in the latest crackdown on drivers texting or not going hands free on their cellphones. Santa Rosa police, for example, will have 18 officers today devoted to looking for violators, Sgt. Rich Celli said. Of those, four will be bicycle officers who patrol the downtown area. Today’s crackdown is part of a month-long, stepped up enforcement of the state’s cellphone and texting laws. In the first… Read More »