California residents are already banned from holding cell phones while driving, and starting January 1, 2009, sunny state motorists will officially be disallowed to text message while driving. A first violation will result in a $20 fine, with each subsequent offense costing $50.
"Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers' hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It remains to be seen how much effect the new ban will have on text messaging motorists, but it should come as no surprise if a high number tickets get written. According to Tom Marshall, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, there have already been 19,753 citations issued for holding cell phones since the law went into effect on July 1, 2008, less than three months ago.