SACRAMENTO, CA – California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed state senate Bill 28, which would have increased the fines for violating hands-free and no-texting laws, according to a news release from State Senator Joe Simitian.

The bill was passed by the legislature and would have increased the fine for a first hands-free or texting while driving offense to $50 and to $100 for subsequent offenses. It would also have added a point to motorists’ driving records for subsequent offenses.

“I’m disappointed, but the governor gets the last word,” said Simitian. “I understand and accept that. My job now is to figure out where do we go from here.”

California Highway Patrol data showed an immediate drop of 40-50 percent in the number of distracted driving accidents attributed to cell phones after the law went into effect. But Simitian said he thought the state could do better.

Simitian is the author of three previous distracted driving laws:

Senate Bill 1613 (2006) made it illegal for California drivers to talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving (effective 7/1/08).

Senate Bill 33 (2007) prohibited drivers under the age of 18 from texting, talking on a cell phone or using any “mobile service” technology while driving, even with a hands-free device (effective 7/1/08).

Senate Bill 28 (2008) made it illegal for all drivers in California to send, read, or write text messages while driving (effective 1/1/09).

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet