You did not mention what state you are referring to regarding the fine for using your cell phone. We are aware of a couple of cell phone laws that have an effective or operative date of July 1st, one being 7/1/07 and the other being 7/1/08. Below is information on those states and their laws.
Effective July 1, 2007, Virginia drivers younger than 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in Virginia while using a cellular telephone or other wireless communications devices. The new law prohibits the use of cell phones, even if they are considered to be hands-free. It also prohibits text-messaging while driving.
All Virginia drivers under the age of 18 are issued provisional driver's licenses. A provisional license carries other limitations as well, such as restrictions on the number of passengers and driver curfews. The ban on cell-phone usage while driving is considered a secondary violation, similar in Virginia to safety belt laws.
While it is a secondary offense but VA police say they will be aggressively vigilant so if there is a primary offense that the teen is caught doing, law enforcement will also be ticketing them for using the cell phone.
So now if a teen is pulled over for speeding or any other traffic violation and they are caught using their cell phone, they will have to pay an additional fine of fifty dollars. To find out if any there will be any other penalties applied to the provisional license of a driver cited for this infraction check with the VA DMV.
Effective January 1, 2007 but Operative July 1, 2008 is a new California law regarding cell phone usage while operating a vehicle.
CA motor vehicle code 23123 states that a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.
A violation of this section of California law is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
This law does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity. So basically if a motorist is calling 911 for an emergency purpose they would not need to use a hands free device.
It appears that though the law went into effect at the beginning of 2007 it is not become operative until July 2008 so that the CA Department of Motor Vehicles has time to update its manuals and to give CA drivers time to get used to the new law. It would seem that this means tickets will not be written until 2008 but that warnings could be given out though check with the CA DMV or law enforcement to find to for certain.
Other states that have passed cell phone laws include Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C. For more information on state cell phone laws you can check with your state's DMV or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which has collected information on this subject.