Santa Barbara- S County

Cell phone penalties getting tougher

New York increases its punishment and other states may follow

Cell phone penalties getting tougher

GOLETA, Calif. - Cell phone penalties in New York have increased and some local drivers think California should follow with a tougher law than the one on the books.

Currently a first time offender in California is fined $159.

In New York there are five driver penalty points, in addition to to the fine of up to $150. for violations of the cell phone law.

The National Transportation Safety Administration says drivers who are texting on their phones while they are behind the wheels are six times more dangerous than a drunk driver.

One local driver, Robert Jones says the fines in California should be increased to $500. for the first offense. " and $1500. for the second offense."

His wife Violet says she has seen drivers using their knees on the steering wheel and texting while going down the road.

The Office of Traffic Safety has used a strong educational campaign in California to encourage drivers to avoid their cell phones while they are driving.  One slogan is, "Stop the text. Stop the wrecks."

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