California passes ban on cellphone use while driving

California has officially followed New York's lead and has banned cellphone use while driving unless being used with a handsfree device of some sort. Exceptions are carved out for public safety workers and those in the farming business.

In addition to a WiFi security bill and a bill allowing 21 days for new wireless customers to check out and use service before committing to long-term contracts, the cell-phone driver bill requires drivers to use hands-free devices to make and receive calls while behind the wheel, starting on January 1, 2008.

Violators of the ordinance would face a $20 fine for a first offense and a $50 ticket for subsequent infractions. While these are small potatoes, higher fines would have been in order in my opinion -- on the level of not wearing a seat belt (like in some states), where the fine can be anywhere from $75 to $100.

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