Yesterday, in a ceremony in Oakland, California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that would make driving while operating a mobile phone illegal on California roadways. The Golden State is now the fifth state to enact such a restriction and in doing so, ended a four-year long struggle, spearheaded by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. Simitian maintains that mobile phone usage while driving is the number one cause of crashes in California, while opponents of the law believe that distracted drivers, in general, are to blame.

The law will take effect January 1, 2008, imposing a $20 fine for the first offense and a $50 penalty for subsequent infractions, with no adverse affects on the driver's insurance. Motorists using hands-free devices will be exempt from the law.

[Source: San Jose Mercury News]