Drivers Gear Up for Text Message Ban

December 29, 2008 8:34:23 PM PST
Valley drivers like Ellen Youseff say they can always tell if the person in front of them is texting while they are on the road."They don't look like they're focused."

"Your vehicle tends to sway from side to side or you veer to the left."

That's what California Highway Patrol Officer Paul Solórzano has observed in the past. Beginning January first those drivers will be ticketed under a new California hands free law. The new hands free law makes sending, or reading or writing text messages illegal while you're driving.

"I think it's a good idea. It might reduce accidents."

Talking on a cell phone is already against the law, but we saw drivers texting and talking on their cell phones.

Action News asked Solórzano how this new law will be enforced. He admits it will be hard, but not impossible.

"If you see a phone in their hand and you're looking that's one way to see it. If the person is not looking down, it's kind of hard."

According to the C.H.P in 2007 there were 130 accidents caused by inattentive drivers.

In order to get a ticket for texting while driving law enforcement says they have to actually see you doing it. They say some drivers are getting pretty clever at getting around the law."

"Usually they'll text like that and they'll put it down."

"They saw a cop and freaked out and stopped."

Solórzano says motor patrol has a better chance at spotting and stopping drivers who are not abiding by the hands free law. He says if you have a message that simply can't wait.

"Take the nearest off ramp, get off the freeway then read your text."

The fine for texting is 20 dollars on the first offense and 50 dollars for each additional ticket.

Once you add court fees, and administrative costs you could look to pay more than three times the original ticket price.

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