New Year means no texting while driving

LOS ANGELES In July of 2008, talking on a cell phone while driving became illegal in the state of California. On New Year's Day, California will become the sixth state to ban texting by drivers.

"I like the idea about not texting ... because then less accidents happen. You can't pick letters while you're driving," said Guyana Simonyan, a California driver.

"I think that it's almost an afterthought to make the law, because you have to be pretty insane to want to do it in the first place," said Euan Cunningham, another driver.

In July of 2008, talking on a cell phone while driving became illegal in the state of California.

Among the other laws taking effect on Jan. 1 is setting up a state certification system for massage therapists. This law is meant to distinguish legitimate massage therapists from massage parlors that serve as fronts for prostitution.

Two other laws will make it tougher for teachers who commit sex crimes to stay in the classroom.

In addition, new standards of care will be established for animals sold in pet stores.

In 2009, state marriage license forms will be altered to make it easier for men who want to take the name of their wives when they marry.

The biggest publicity push about the new laws has been focused on getting drives to put down the phone.

"People weaving, people tailgating, people just all over the road because they're texting," said Sherri Friscia, a California driver.

The penalty for being caught text messaging while on the road is $20 for the first-time offenders; but adding in all the various fees will bump the tab up to about $100.


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