Possible New Fines for Drivers Who Refuse to Go Hands-Free

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    Go hands free, or pay the fee!

    Fines for drivers who refuse to go hands-free while using their cell phones will increase if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill sent to him Monday by the Senate.

    The base fine for texting or calling while holding a cell phone would increase from $20 to $50. Court fees would drive the cost from about $180 to $300, says the author, Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto.

    Repeat offenders could be fined $100 or up to $528 with fees and get one point added to their driving record.

    Republican Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville objected to increasing fines in a poor economy. Simitian responded by saying, "As long as you follow the law, there's no fine.''

    He says SB28 will save lives by deterring distracted driving.