California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
Aug 26, 2008

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.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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