Calif. Drivers Welcome 2009, and No More SMS

Text messaging may be more popular then making phone calls, but as of the New Year, California drivers have to resort to the old school style of talking to people, at least while driving. In September of 2008 California banned text messaging while driving, effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Lest California drivers forget, they still need to use a hands-free setup or headset while behind the wheel, as well.

Studies have shown as many as 30% of cell phone users text while driving. And before BlackBerry users get their hopes up, emailing counts as well.

A violation will result in a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. Yes, yes, it's such a low fine that some will probably ignore it. After all, fines are similar for the headset law, and some people in California seem to ignore that as well. However, approximately 42,000 drivers have been cited under the headset law.

Oh, and don't think you can get away with reading as opposed to writing. That's a violation as well.