Drivers Split Over Higher Fines, DMV Penalties For Cell Phone Use

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you get caught talking or texting on a cellphone behind the wheel, California lawmakers say it should cost you even more cash — along with a ding on your driving record.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the proposed hike could end up totaling hundreds of dollars for drivers — and those who don’t routinely use their phones while driving say it’s the right move.

If the bill becomes law, a $20 cell phone ticket will increase to $50.

But including courthouse fees, a violation may ultimately total up to $300, with a second offense pushing the fine up to $500.

In addition, the plan would also tack on a penalty point to your file with the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

The new law would even penalize bicyclists with fines for pedaling and talking on their phone at the same time.

Critics say the move amounts to nothing more than another attempt by the state to help ease a mounting cash crunch in the face of a $25 billion deficit.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • rob

    thank god, finally… go after moms with kids in the car and business men, I see them all the time on the phone making illegal uturns and not paying attsention at all, aslso the biggest problem I have is City workers on thier phones as well??? they didnt learn thier lessons? Fines should quadruple, stop this madness here in LA.


    What’s next? Women putting make-ups on while driving?

    • Kaolin

      Already happens. And men shave.

    • Den

      Great idea. Also fine men for shaving while driving. Hopefully this will help cut down the number of crashed and lower our insurance rates.

  • Eliminate Welfare & Medi-Cal

    $500 for 2nd offense, how much for 3rd, 4th, 5th ticket?

  • fingerpointer

    ive seen plenty of cops on their phones while driving

    • Kaolin

      Except that they wrote into the law that law enforcement and other emergencey personnel were exempted.

    • Den

      They should be fined too

  • dave

    and that should go for the portly drivers stuffing food in thier faces while driving, and then fine them for being fat, like the tax they drop on smokers

  • Enrique

    That is correct. Every other cop i see in LA area on cell Phone.. WHO fines them?? I completely agree with fines for everyone distracted while driving..

  • Just some guy

    I didn’t even know it was as low as $20.I always assumed it was much higher.That would explain why something that has been shown to be as dangerous as driving drunk,but no one really has stopped because the fines were never high enough.Hell yes make it higher.People need to realize that there is a time and place for certain things.Being in a car driving,you need all your attention on whats going on around you.If i call someone,and they are driving,i just tell ’em,”i’ll talk to you later”.Never a problem.

    • Kaolin

      It’s not the fine, it’s the bogus court fees that they tack on. Court expenses won’t increase even though the fine does so why do the court fees go up? Duh.

  • diosdado1001

    It is very easy and safe just to stop by the curb to answer or make a call. You could be a good driver, but you can be hit by a driver on the phone. I think this will make the user more aware before they get on the phone while driving.

    • Kaolin

      No, it won’t. It raises revenue for the state and local agencies. If they were truly interested in safety, the laws would not exempt law enforcement and all distracted driving would be ticketed.

  • Onewhofeelsputupon

    I appreciate and acknowledge that talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and irresponsible, and should be appropriately punished.

    That having been said: Can this state become any more craven, desperate, and pathetic in its attempts to close its budget shortfall? The way laws and fines are designed to squeeze the maximum out of drivers – so ridiculously out of proportion to the depth and harm of vehicular offenses – law enforcement officers in California might as well be deputized as collection agents for the Franchise Tax Board. There’s barely any pretext of fairness anymore.

    What’s next? A $10,000 fine and vehicle seizure for an illegal U-turn? Don’t laugh, the way things are headed here, it’s coming sooner than we all think. And I’m sure there will be people working for the state ready with explanations as to why it’s appropriate punishment.

    The legislature and other governing bodies must be convinced that, even in the face of 10% sales tax; unaffordable real estate; and a moribund and shrinking job market and economy, there is a tiny handful of middle class people who have managed to survive in California. And our proud, dutiful public servants will not rest until every single last one of them has been driven out. (Along with any and all viable small businesses.)

    P.S. I’m a registered Democrat. Or was, at least. I’m no longer a partisan of any stripe.

    • TT

      your not too far off- while agree that drivng and talking/texting is extremely dangerous – and so proven over and over again – I cant believe the court fees most time are double and triple the amount of the actual citation. Thats a hard one to “swallow” so to speak….

      • TT

        and in regard to the middle class comment – selling our property (we would come out ahead) n moving elsewhere is looking pretty good…definately not a bad option…

  • Oops...

    Emergency personnel are exempt FYI. Read the law. I suppose that’s because of all the stuff already going on in those vehicles-if you can drive, type on a computer and talk on the radio, then really, what’s one more thing?


    A simple Blue tooth, wired headset, or speakerphone should do the trick.


    So bicyclists are subject to the same Fine amount? I’m sure there’s NO DMV points for bicyclists for subsequent offenders but will they confiscate the bike if it’s a repeat offender?

  • Tanya

    The fine is not $20. I picked up my phone to put it on speaker while stopped at a red light and I was given a $160 ticket/ fine. If it is to close the budget then why the point on your license? Oh…. insurance companies need more revenue too…. I think I see a campaign promise coming to light……

  • Onewhofeelsputupon

    Correction – “… coming sooner THEN we all think.”

  • Camille

    And then they have the nerve to ask people to call 911 to report drunk drivers on the freeway…

    • Politics

      This saves ’em the hard work of sitting on the Freeway.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Sandwich Generation

Listen Live