California SB 33

SB 33
DIGEST : This bill prohibits persons who are under the
age of 18 years from using a wireless telephone or other
mobile service device while operating a motor vehicle.

Senate Floor Amendments of 4/23/07 clarify that no person
under the age of 18 years, regardless of whether or not
that person possesses a valid driver’s license or permit,
may use a wireless data device while operating a motor
vehicle.

ANALYSIS : Existing law places a number of restrictions
on the driving privileges of persons who are under the age
of 18 years. At age 15-1/2 years, a person who has met
CONTINUED

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certain training requirements may apply to the Department
of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for an instruction permit. During
the permit period, which may not exceed 24 months from the
date of the application, the permittee may operate a motor
vehicle only “when accompanied by, and under the immediate
supervision of, a licensed California driver with a valid
license of appropriate class, 18 years of age or over whose
driving privilege is not on probation.”

Once a driver has held an instruction permit for a minimum
of six months and has completed driver education and
training, he/she may apply for a provisional driver’s
license. The provisional license includes a number of
special restrictions, including requirements for supervised
driving, and lower thresholds for the intervention and
restriction of driving privileges in response to poor or
inappropriate driving behavior. For example, with some
exceptions, licensees may not drive between the hours of
11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. or transport passengers who are
under 20 years of age unless they are accompanied and
supervised by a licensed driver who is the licensee’s
parent, a certified driving instructor, or age 25 years or
older for the first 12 months after the issuance of a
provisional license.

Under the provisional driver’s license program, a law
enforcement officer may not stop a vehicle for the sole
purpose of determining whether the driver is in violation
of the restrictions of the provisional license and a
violation of the provisional license does not constitute a
violation point count on the driver’s record.

With regard to the use of wireless telephones, under
existing law set to go into effect July 1, 2008, no person,
regardless of age, may use a hand-held wireless telephone
while operating a motor vehicle.

This bill prohibits persons under the age of 18 years from
using any type of wireless telephone, including a handset
that is equipped with a hands-free device, or other mobile
service device, as defined, while operating a motor
vehicle. The restriction does not apply to drivers using
the phone for emergency purposes. This bill also prohibits
a law enforcement officer from stopping a vehicle for the

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sole purpose of determining whether the driver is under age
18 years and using a wireless telephone and specifies that
a violation of this law would not constitute a violation
point count on the driver’s record. This bill becomes
operative on July 1, 2008.

Prior Legislation

SB 1613 (Simitian), Chapter 290, Statutes of 2006,
prohibited the use of hand-held wireless telephones while
operating a motor vehicle, with some exceptions.

AB 963 (Garcia), 2005-06 session, prohibited drivers with a
provisional driver’s license from using a wireless
telephone while operating a motor vehicle. The bill died
in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

SB 806 (Speier), 2005-06 session, increased restrictions
placed on drivers operating a motor vehicle under a
provisional driver’s license and increased punitive
measures taken against those drivers who violated those
restrictions. The bill died in the Assembly Appropriations
Committee.

SB 1582 (Bowen), 2003-04 session, prohibited drivers with a
provisional driver’s license from using a wireless
telephone while operating a motor vehicle. The bill failed
passage in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

FISCAL EFFECT : Appropriation: No Fiscal Com.: Yes
Local: Yes

SUPPORT : (Verified 4/17/07)

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT : The Personal Insurance Federation
of California states, in support:

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death
among 16 to 20 year olds, accounting for 44% of teen
deaths in the United States, with approximately 5,500
teenage drivers or passengers dying each year. Despite
the fact that young drivers represent only 6.6% of the
nation’s licensed drivers, they are involved in 14.8% of
fatal crashes.

“The California Highway Patrol has recently collected
data that shows that cell phone use is the number one
identified source of distracted driver related accidents
in the state. A study conducted by Ford Motor Company
revealed that teenage drivers are four times more
distracted than adult drivers by cell phone use.

“Studies like these have led the National Transportation
Safety Board to urge all states to enact legislation to
prohibit inexperienced drivers from using cell phones and
other mobile service devices (including pagers and
two-way messaging devices) while driving. Currently,
fourteen states and the District of Columbia have laws
restricting the use of wireless communication devices by

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new and inexperienced drivers.

“SB 33 is an important measure that will help to minimize
driving distractions among teenagers and ensure safer
driving conditions for the public.”

JJA:mw 4/24/07 Senate Floor Analyses

SUPPORT/OPPOSITION: SEE ABOVE

**** END ****

3 Responses

  1. […] January 27, 2010 · Leave a Comment Senate Floor Amendments of 4/23/07 clarify that no person under the age of 18 years, regardless of whether or not that person possesses a valid driver’s license or permit, may use a wireless data device while operating a motor vehicle. Get the details on this bill here. […]

  2. […] a ploy to make more more money for the government. This law is surely the spawn of 2007′s California SB 33 in which people under 18 were forbidden from using a cell while driving. Now everyone is faced with […]

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