16 texting citations so far in 2009

January 29, 2009 4:35:40 PM PST
The California Highway Patrol as of Wednesday has issued 16 citations in the Bay Area for text messaging while driving since a law banning that activity went into effect Jan. 1.

Statewide, there have been 88 citations issued for text messaging while driving since the law took effect, according to CHP Sgt. Trent Cross.

"It's very dangerous," Cross said. "It's important for people to focus on their driving and not be distracted by anything."

He said he has not heard of any remarkable protests to the new law when officers cite drivers caught text messaging.

The first citation one receives warrants a $20 fine, but first-time citations are also accompanied by about $100 in court fees, Cross said.

Each time a driver is caught text messaging after the first citation, a ticket of $50 is issued, in addition to about $200 in court fees, according to Cross.

Another statewide law that prohibits talking on a cell phone without using a hands free device while driving went into effect July 1, 2008.