In 2014, 61 percent of California drivers reported being hit or nearly hit by another driver who was texting or using a hand-held cell phone. Distracted driving is dangerous, and hundreds of thousands of people have been cited for per year it in California alone.
The state of California Office of Traffic Safety says in 80 percent of crashes nationwide, distracted driving is a factor. The top distractions are cell phone use and texting, both reading and writing texts.
Seventy-three percent of people 18 to 20 and more than half the overall population admit to texting while driving, says the U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal government has a website devoted to distracted driving called http://www.distraction.gov.
Hundreds of Thousands of Citations
In 2013 the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported that more than 426,000 people were convicted for texting or using a hand-held cell phone. In April of that year, police issued more than 57,000 tickets.
Even before texting took off in the 2000s, statistics said all drivers were likely to get into at least one accident in a lifetime.
The statistics on distracted driving are chilling. In 2010 nationwide, about 3,000 U.S. residents were killed by distracted drivers and more than 400,000 injured.
States began passing laws when the texting craze swept the nation in the 2000s. California was no different, passing at least three laws to control texting and phoning while driving.
The California law on phoning while driving reads as follows:
“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.”
Also, as of 2014 people under 18 may not even use a hands-free cell phone while driving under a new California law.
Text of Texting Law
As of 2008, California law prohibits texting with any device by anyone while they are driving unless it can be voice-activated. That law states:
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.”
Minor Penalties, Major Lawsuits
While the penalties for violating these laws are rather minor ($20 for a first offense on texting, for example, and $50 for a second offense), a driver who causes an accident and who gets cited by a police officer for it may very well be found liable in court or some other legal venue.
If someone crashes into you while texting or using a hand-held cell phone, they may be subject to paying you compensation for:
- Injuries and medical bills
- Time off of work
- Emotional distress and/or mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to your vehicle.
You may eligible to file a lawsuit against a party who crashes into your car, and Krasney Law of Los Angeles and San Bernardino can assess your case and advise you.
What is Distracted Driving, and Who’s Doing It?
“Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the steering wheel – especially texting and cell phone use, whether hands-free or handheld,” the Office of Traffic Safety states. “Who’s doing it? Most of us. It has been estimated that, at any one time, up to 10 percent of drivers are using a mobile device.”
As of 2016, no states have banned use of hands-free or Bluetooth devices while driving, but many articles say it can be dangerous too. A couple of recent headlines read:
- AAA Study: Using Hands-Free Devices Distracts Drivers (link)
- Hands-free cellphones make driving more dangerous, not less (link)
- Majority of Americans Wrongly Believe Hands-Free Cell Phones Are Safer Than Hand-Held Devices (link)
That last article, on http:www.alertdriving.com, states:
“Too many Americans are driving with the false sense of security that hands-free devices are somehow safer, which could be a deadly mistake,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Evidence shows that using a hands-free phone while driving impairs your reaction time to critical events and increases your crash risk about the same as if you were using a hand-held phone. Drivers need to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and pay full attention while they are behind the wheel.”
Krasney Law of Los Angeles
At Krasney Law of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, we would appreciate an opportunity to talk to you if a distracted driver causes an accident you are involved in. The initial consultation is free, and we collect no fees unless there is a monetary recovery or your case goes to trial. The fact is that even if we collect a contingency fee, you are likely to receive more compensation than if you deal with the insurance companies on your own.
Our phone number is (909) 380-7200. Or you may contact us on the Web at http://krasneylaw.net/contact-us/. We can discuss your insurance situation, the laws surrounding your case and how to proceed with doctors and medical care if you were injured. Please call us today.