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Calif. governor rejects raising cellphone fines

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Updated: 9/29/2012 1:54 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have raised the fine for illegally using a cellphone while driving in California from $20 to $30.

Brown on Friday rejected the penalty increase, saying he believes the current fine is "a powerful deterrent." While the state base fine is $20, the governor noted that the total can climb to $200 or $300 with court fees.

Palo Alto Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian says his bill, SB1310, was intended to reduce deaths and collisions by discouraging using hand-held cellphones. Repeat violations also would have added points to drivers' records, potentially increasing their insurance costs.

The additional $10 fine would have gone to educating motorists.

Brown vetoed a similar bill by Simitian last year that would have raised the base fine to $50.


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