California will become the fourth state in the country to ban motorists from holding cellphones while driving under legislation Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign into law today, reports the Los Angeles Times. Under the law, which will take effect in July 2008, Californians risk a minimum $20 fine for driving while yakking into a phone – unless they are using a headset, speaker phone, ear bud or some other technology that frees both hands while they talk. Drivers in emergency situations would be exempt.
The law passed both legislative houses with largely Democratic support and the votes of a few Republicans. Although 38 state legislatures considered bills to minimize driving distractions such as cellphones this year, only New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the District of Columbia have banned drivers from using hand-held cellphones.