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CNET News Video: Drivers caught red-handed holding phone
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CNET News Video: Drivers caught red-handed holding phone

2:38 /

Starting July 1, California drivers caught holding their cell phones to their ear while driving are being slapped with a $20 ticket for the first offense, and a $50 ticket for the second. CNET.com's Kara Tsuboi rode along with the California Highway Patrol near Berkeley, Calif., as officers nabbed violators on the first day of the law.

[ Background Music ] >> Today, July 1st, California's hands-free law goes into effect. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com and I'm going on a ride along with the California Highway Patrol to see if we can find anyone breaking the law. Within minutes, acting Sargent Trent Cross found his first violator holding her cellphone to her ear. >> Exited the freeway at university and just pull 'em next to that speed limit sign. >> The reason why I stopped you is for you talking on your cellphone. >> I know it. >> Were you aware that the new law started today? >> I just realized that one when I pulled in. >> Okay. First time violation is gonna be 20 dollars. Any subsequent violation is 50 dollars but that does not include court fees or penalty assessments in which it can range from 50 to 200 dollars. >> Alright. That'll teach me a lesson. >> Thank you for your cooperation. Education is just as important as enforcement and so, even though she was sighted for talking on the phone, I explained to her why and why this new law is so important and it's just more so geared towards traffic safety and it's just important to have 2 hands on the steering wheel as well as focusing on your driving and not talking on the phone. Last year, there were over a thousand crashes in which cellphone use was the contributing factor and of those thousand crashes, approximately 450 of 'em were injury related. >> Although stores like Best Buy and Circuit City have reportedly sold out their blue tooth and hands-free devices, it was easy to spot violators on the highway. >> Exit the freeway. Pull to the right. ^M00:01:30 [ Foreign Language ] ^M00:01:35 >> No license. What started as a hands-free violation has quickly escalated. >> Alright. Here's a situation. This guy in the maroon truck he's driving talking on the phone, no license, no ID. The guy in the first truck it's his car, but I'm gonna side him and request 11-85 to tow the car. >> California is now the fifth state plus Washington D.C. with a hand-held cellphone ban. >> It's a bad habit that has continued to grow over the last few years and-- >> Law enforcement officers say they plan to take it very seriously. >> We're gonna be aggressive in our enforcement efforts, not just today but for years to come. >> One thing that California law does not cover is text messaging while driving. In fact, there is already a Facebook group called "I text while driving and I haven't gotten into an accident yet" and I hear there's close to a thousand members already. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com. ^M00:02:33 [ Music ]

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