California Governor Vetoes Increased Cell Phone Driving Fines

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Last updated April 12, 2019

Yesterday, the Governor of California spoiled the state’s plans to increase fines against drivers who are caught using new or old cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.  The proposed new laws, which would also have made it illegal for bicyclists in California to use their cell phones while riding, were shot down by Democrat Governor Jerry Brown, who says he made the decision because the amount of fees and penalties that are tacked on to base fees by various cities and counties in the state of California would have meant that even a first offence would cost a motorist as much as $328, with a second offense rising to $528, an amount Brown considered to be a little bit too much.

“I certainly support discouraging cell phone use while driving a car but not ratcheting up the penalties as described by this bill,” Brown commented in his veto message.  “For people of ordinary means, current fines and penalty assessments should be sufficient deterrent.”

The original bill that banned cell phone use and texting did not include bicycles, which the new bill sought to redress, but it seems legislators will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to receive Brown’s approval to do so.  The bill was not the only one vetoed by the Governor, who also gave the thumbs down to a proposal to make it illegal for minors to not wear helmets on ski slopes in California.