"Public safety is the governor's No. 1 priority," said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson, "and this bill will make the streets and highways of California safer by ensuring that drivers have both hands available for driving."
Drivers experiencing an emergency would be exempt from the fine, though I imagine someone in an emergency would be looking forward to police assistance rather than worrying about getting pulled over.
Some are still arguing that it is talking in general while driving, not the use of a cell phone, that poses a risk. By that same token, merely having someone in the car with you and talking to you could be considered a crime, which I see as extreme.