The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make California the second state after New York to require motorists to keep their hands off the phone and on the wheel, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The paper says prospects for passage in the Senate appear promising. Gov. Gray Davis’ administration has no position on the measure, but a key gubernatorial appointee, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Dwight Helmick, favors it. The measure would not take effect until January, 2005. Violators would face fines of $20 for the first offense, and $50 if caught again.
The California Highway Patrol issued a study this year concluding that cell phone use caused one of every 10 accidents that could be linked to inattentive driving. Of those, nine people were killed and 687 injured.