‘Sorry’ Law Goes Into Effect in California

January 12, 2001

A new law that allows Californians to apologize at the scene of an accident without penalty went into effect on Jan. 1. Drivers who had previously held their tongues for fear of admitting guilt can now express their feelings without worrying that their words will be held against them in court.

The bill, authored by California State Assemblyman Lou Papan (D-Millbrae), protects “benevolent acts expressing sympathy.” Its proponents contend that it may reduce the number of lawsuits flooding the courts by diffusing the victims’ anger and allowing normal expression.

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