Using a Cell Phone While Driving in California

Just over three months ago, California started prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. However, the law allowed drivers 18 and over to use a cell phone provided that they also used a hands-free device. So, I was quite surprised to see other drivers talking on cell phones these past few days. You can’t miss the unmistakeable sign: right hand glued to the right ear while driving. This morning, Palo Alto Online reported that the CHP had cited over 20,000 drivers for talking on a cell phone. Although the base fine is $20, the DMV states that “[w]ith the addition of penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.” In these times of financial crisis, we can thank our fellow drivers for chipping in an extra $400,000 – $1,200,000 to help out the state.

12 comments… add one
  • one of the upside for violating the law… if there be any. but seriously, it’s a good sign that we are seriously implementing the law regarding this seemingly harmless act of using mobile phones while driving. harmless, that is, until you figure in a vehicle mishap. kudos to our law enforcers!

  • John Perry

    I recently was issued a traffic ticket for using a cell phone. I asked the officer approx how much the fine would be. His reply was that he did not know but thought the DMV receives approx $21.00 of the fine amount. I was informed by the Riverside Courts that the fine is approx $175.00 or so – the clerk was not certain. That means that the “additional fine assesments” are approx $150,00. I was wondering if anyone knows just where all that extra money is going???

  • Bud Ftacek

    I received a ticket for using a cell phone while driving . I honestly thought the police stopped enforcing it because everywhere I look there is someone on a cell phone driving by. the officer told me the fine is only $25.00. I received a courtesy notice from court and the fine is $127.00 . After trying to find out why, all I can find is that the state says the county may tack on their own “penalty assessments”.No wonder the state is in trouble – even the counties are screwing them and us out of $$$.

  • Eugene Falik

    I would think that 47USC333 is the relevant law. It prohibits interference with “licensed uses” and of course cell phones are such licensed uses. The question on supremacy is addressed in City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal and American Airlines v. Town of Hempstead.

  • Matt Cuuningham

    I was pulled over in Burbank, CA. for using my cell phone while driving. The officer told me it was not a violation that would affect my license. I looked up the fine for a first time offender and found it to be $20.00. However, I received a notice today for $141.00 bail and to contact the court for traffic school eligibility.

    Shame they don’t give tickets for changing lanes or turning without the use of turn signals, why would they? the Police don’t even use turn signals!

  • Mikhael Osorio

    I was pulled over in Los Angeles, CA because an officer was assuming that I was using a cell phone while driving. I was going west bound on the intersection of Temple St Ramp & Hoover St. The reality of this is I just got out a Dr. Office after a biopsy in my right hand and the physician directions was to maintain my right hand up for couples of hours so I was supporting my right arm putting my elbow on the glove box that is next to the driver seat. I course having a cell phone and my glove box and also and my passenger seat so he considered that I was talking. This is so funny, but I will go to court so the officer wills has to proof me in court.

  • Bob Parenteau

    Mikhael, when you go to court for anything now, you have prove yourself innocent but the officer prove you guilty. This state is so broke, most judges are giving out full fines, not like years ago, when the judge could reduce the fine.
    I’m a truck driver and I transport hazardous waste. Any fines I get are triple the cost, triple the points and no traffic school. So I can’t get the ticket taken off. Real fair. I wish I just had a regular Class C license, but I don’t.
    By the way, Officer Wills is a dick. Good luck in court.

  • Antoy9186

    I was pulled over by a Carlsbad officer for talking on my cell phone. My wife who is pregnant was calling to find out how close I was to her work, because I was running late to pick her up. She had a doctor’s appointment at 3:15 I was pulled over at 3:00. I was just putting the phone down when I seen him. We have technology for hands free devices but mine was charging at home and since I knew it was my wife calling I picked it up and spoke to her real fast but for about 5 seconds that I talked it cost my wife’s car to get towed because my license was suspened for failure to pay tickets. The officer did not believe that my wife was pregnant till she walked a mile down after I told her that I got pulled over. It was my fault for not taking care of the tickets but they could have let her drive her car to her doctors appt. I think the law is just another way for CA to make money off of the citizens that live here. My wife who is pregnant was not allowed to take her car because the officer is an ass. You tell me if I am wrong for being mad at him and this law or did my wife deserve this treatment by our fine law enforcement officers? I am mad at myself also because I should have paid these fines but I am no criminal stealing pensions, or murdering, or pimping women, drinking and driving, racing, armed robbery, none of these things. My tickets are speeding on the freeway I was doing 90 when others were doing 89 the speed limit was 70. My other ticket was I ran a red light arrow, no excuses for me but what about my wife. This officer was telling us we had to leave we knew our rights we told him that he didn’t like that. We wanted to stay until the vehicle was towed. We have that right we also have the right say anything to the police except threaten them. He wanted our car keys for the tow truck we said we would give it to him he calls that obstucting a law officer, since when does a tow company need your key to tow your car. They tow cars all the time without keys. How was that obstructing anything the tow truck was going to tow with or without the key. Me and my wife walked about 1 mile before her mom picked us up pregnant in this hot weather. Thanks Carlsbad PD you are so concerned about citizens. Oh yes they offered to call us a cab “like I didn’t have a cell phone “

  • Antoy9186

    By the way I am American and because I don’t come from Africa I am only American not African-American. My skin is darker from the Carlsbad PD . I seen many people talk on their cell phones in Carlsbad on the same street I was pulled over on. I even seen a San Diego Sheriffs deputy use a cell phone while driving. I should have taken a picture. Next time I am. The people in Carlsbad have lighter skin than me and my wife who is pregnant so you readers of this tell me how bad it is to tell your wife you are down the street on a cell phone

  • Thao Le

    I just got a ticket less than 30 mins ago by college campus police in San Jose, CA…. And I’m over 5 miles away from the college and 1 block from my house. ISSUE I have is that I wasn’t on my phone!!!! I was at an intersection with a red light and I unlocked my iPhone to select the next song on the iPod. The music was still playing when she came up to my window. I asked her to hold on as I turned of the music to get my lisence and registration. Still wrote me the ticket. I definatly will fight this ticket. Just have to get my bill with all the call logs and text messaging times. Just a waste of time to go to court. Now it’s principal!

  • I am a vet of this great nation, the cell phone fine is $20 for first offense and $50 for the second offense. When you get your ticket it (no doubt about it) WILL be triple the amount. You will ask yourself WTF? How? The answer is penaltys and assesment. You ask again what are those and the courts cannot tell you. I am ashamed of this state and the B+ullsh+it they enforce because of their poor choices in legislation over the years, because the state is in a huge crisis deficit. This isnt right for what we all are going through right now. People are hurting and the government doesnt care.

  • RAY

    Damn right, I’m pissed-off! Got a cell phone ticket in Irwindale last week by a scumbag pig. Yes, I was guilty being on the phone (calling work to let them know I was running late b/c of traffick). Douchebag pulled right next to me as I was disconnecting. He tailgates me for half a mile and then proceeds to turn on his light to pull me over! License and registration? He wouldn’t even listen to anything I had to say. Right away he was writing up the ticket, as I was yelling out “officer” and calling him to come back pretends not to hear me. He finally gives me the ticket and I asked him “couldn’t you just give me a warning sir? I wasn’t even on the phone for long, but he says you were on for a while. I said, B.S. look for yourself, he looks at my last call and finds that I was on for only 9 seconds. Not even ten seconds long and writes me up. What a jerk!! Then I ask how much is this gonna cost me, he says “20 bucks.” Come to find out today in the mail I got a bill for $146. These guys are all about revenues. It is all about the PRINCIPAL as someone mentioned. It’s not about the money but not even a Warning. Come on bro!!I constantly see traffic officers on the phone. You know what KARMA is gonna catch up brother!!

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