Reports of accidents and injuries caused by paparazzi become more common every day in Southern California and other areas of the state. In a continued effort to curb these incidents the California legislature has increased the penalties for traffic violations by members of the paparazzi.
On the first of this month changes to a new state law took effect in California aimed at protecting the public from reckless and aggressive paparazzi drivers that endanger public safety. According to a review of changes in public safety regulations by AccidentInjuryLawyersForYou.com the new law increases the penalties for anyone caught driving recklessly in order to take photographs or video footage of celebrities.
The paparazzi take these photographs and videos in order to sell them to tabloids for publication. Since the death of Princess Diana, which is believed to have been caused by a high speed chase with paparazzi, aggressive and dangerous behavior has been a subject of greater scrutiny by public officials. California passed paparazzi related legislation as early as 1998 and amended the legislation in 2005 and 2009 (Section 1708.8 of the California Civil Code).
This new amendment (Assembly Bill No. 2479) increases penalties for traffic violations or interfering with the operation of a celebrity's car. The maximum fine has been increased from $2,500 to $5,000 and the possible jail time has been raised from six months to a year.
The law is not meant to protect only celebrities from being endangered but also family members and friends along with other drivers and pedestrians who might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Although many celebrities applaud these new penalties there are opponents to the law, including the Newspaper Publisher's Association, who feel that the law is overly inclusive and that it unfairly targets those who are in the business of gathering news according to a statement by the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association released on August 23, 2010. A legal challenge to the constitutionality of the law may be expected if anyone is arrested under the new legislation.
Although it is unclear whether increased penalties will have an affect on the paparazzi who are constantly competing to get photos that can be sold for large amounts of money, it is clear that California’s legislative branch is willing and ready to raise the stakes in this dangerous game.
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