Beginning on January 1, Californians who type or read text messages while driving will face a traffic ticket and fine, under a law signed Wednesday by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
California State Bill 28 "specifically bans the use of an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while driving a motor vehicle." Drivers who violate the law will face a "base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense," according to a Press Release from the Office of the California Governor. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California now joins Connecticut, Lousiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington as states that have banned texting while driving. As of July 1 2008, California drivers have been required to use a hands-free device to talk on the phone while operating a vehicle, and drivers under the age of 18 have been prohibited from any non-emergency use of an electronic device while driving. (See State-by-State Laws on Driving and Cell Phones/Text Messaging, from the Governors Highway Safety Association)