A Press Democrat Blog

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 »

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 »

Higher cellphone fines, including for bicyclists, possible

The state Senate today passed a bill that will make it a lot more expensive to illegally use a cellphone or to text while driving — or while bicycling. The legislation, Senate Bill 28 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the measure. The bill, approved 23-13 by the Senate and 51-21 on July 14 by the Assembly, would raise the base fine of a driver’s first violation to… Read More »

New cellphone fines for drivers, bicyclists?

If you text or hold your cellphone while driving or riding your bicycle, you might face a steep increase in fines. The state Senate on Monday approved 24-12 a bill that would raise the base fine of a driver’s first violation to $50, which with fees would total about $300 a ticket, and the base fine for subsequent violations to $100, which with fees would be about $500. The bill also would add a penalty point on motorists’ driving records… 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 »

Tougher cell phone bill dies in Assembly

A state senator has failed in his effort to require bicyclists to stop using hand-held cell phones and to double fines for motorists who don’t go hands-free. Legislation by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, passed the state Senate in June but it got bottled up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and was killed Thursday. That action came just days after a Bay Area crackdown by the CHP on drivers illegally using cell phones. Simitian told the Sacramento Bee he… Read More »