As you are well aware, effective July 1, 2008, the new cell phone laws go into effect. There needs to be some last minute clarifications. There are TWO laws, not one. The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle (Vehicle Code 23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a hands-free device. The second law prohibits drivers UNDER 18 from using a wireless telephone OR a hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC section 23124). The law does permit a driver to use a wireless telephone to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire depaartment or other emergency services agency.
The fines, according to the CHP memo that I received through the Sheriff’s Department, states that the base fine for the first offense offense is $20.00 and $50.00 for subsequent convictions. In addition, according to the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule, with the addition of penalty assessments, a first offense is $76.00 and a second offense is $190.00.
The employer needs to have a clear policy in place and if an employee gets caught driving in violation of your policy you can give them a disciplinary warning. Any fines incurred by the employee, in my opinion, is paid for by the employee just like any other moving violation. Also, just as a heads up, the violation is reportable to DMV, however, DMV is not assigning a point value at this time.
Commercial drivers can use a “push-to-talk” feature until 2011.