Senate Bill 1475 would increase penalties from Simitian's first hands-free law from $20 to $50, and for a subsequent offense from $50 to $100. It would increase the fine for texting while driving from $20 to $100. A violation would also add a point to the driver's record.
A portion of the increased revenue would provide for a public-awareness program.
A twist to the new bill is that the existing hands-free and no-texting laws would apply to bicyclists as well as motorists.
Simitian said in a press release that there are definite links between cell-phone use and accidents, injuries and deaths, according to data from the California Highway Patrol.
"Early this year, the National Safety Council released a report indicating that 28 percent of automobile accidents in the United States involve talking or texting on a cell phone," Simitian said.
"And a nationwide study conducted in 2009 by AAA indicated that 97.7 percent of Americans believed texting or e-mailing while driving was a serious threat to their personal safety.
"The good news is that recently released collision and fatality data from the California Highway Patrol confirms that California's streets and highways are safer following the implementation of California's 'hands-free' cell-phone law," Simitian said.
CHP Capt. Avery Browne said anything that diverts a driver's attention from the roadway, even for two seconds, could result in a tragedy.