California Likely to Outlaw Texting and Emailing While Driving
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
California law is likely to get even stricter regarding the use of electronic devices while driving. SB 28, sponsored by California Senator Joe Simitian, makes it illegal to send or read a text message or email while driving. California law already prohibits such conduct for drivers under 18.This bill would extend those prohibitions to all drivers. The bill adds a new section to the California Vehicle Code and if signed that section would provide:
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using
an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read
a text-based communication.
(b) As used in this section "write, send, or read a text-based
communication" means using an electronic wireless communications
device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based
communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred
to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to
be writing, reading, or sending a text-based communication if the
person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an
electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making
or receiving a telephone call.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a
base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty
dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services
professional using an electronic wireless communications device while
operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section
165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
The bill was approved by the Assembly last week. Most believe that Governor Schwarzenegger will sign this bill.
If signed, this bill would have some ramifications in the California workplace, particularly in situations where employees are involved in accidents as a result of violating the provisions of this bill and the employer did not have adequate policies and procedures in place discouraging such conduct.