J&Y Law Firm discusses the new distracted driving laws in California.

California Distracted Driving Laws

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Distracted driving continues to be a problem throughout the United States. Thousands of people die or sustain severe injuries in distracted driving accidents each year. Many states have enacted distracted driving laws, including California, to reduce the number of traffic accidents caused by a distracted driver. Victims injured by distracted drivers can seek the assistance of a California car accident attorney. The attorney investigates the crash and files a claim seeking compensation for damages and losses.

California’s Distracted Driving Laws Related to Cell Phone Use

Like most other states, California has passed legislation restricting the use of cell phones by drivers. California Vehicle Code §23123.5 prohibits individuals from using a handheld cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. The law also applies to any other “electronic wireless communications device.” California’s cell phone law prohibits drivers under 18 years of age from using all types of electronic devices. The law does not prohibit the use of hands-free cell phones for drivers over 18 years of age.

California law prohibits texting while driving for all drivers. It is illegal to view or send text messages while driving, even if the vehicle is at a red light or stopped in traffic. Texting is not prohibited in vehicles parked in parking lots.

Other Forms of Distracted Driving in California

California’s distracted driving laws do not specifically prohibit other forms of distractions. While cell phone use is one of the most common forms of distracted driving, other distractions while driving can be just as deadly. For example, eating, grooming, programming a GPS, reading, and caring for passengers while driving can be just as dangerous as texting while driving. However, there are no specific distracted driving laws in California that prohibit these actions by a driver.

While an officer may not ticket a driver for eating, grooming, or other distractions, the officer may ticket the driver for a related offense. For instance, if the driver is exceeding the speed limit, rolls through a stop sign, does not use blinkers, or commits any other traffic offense, the officer may pull the driver over an issue a ticket. Therefore, if a police officer notices a driver is doing something that could pose a danger to others, the officer may look a little harder for another traffic offense to justify pulling the driver over.

Distracted Drivers and Accident Claims

If a distracted driver causes a traffic accident, that driver can be held liable for damages caused by the accident. However, the accident victim must prove that the driver caused the crash before receiving money for an injury claim. Proving the driver was distracted at the time of the crash is only one factor in proving fault.

A driver could be distracted, but not be responsible for causing the crash. Therefore, accident victims need hard evidence to prove the other driver’s actions were the direct and proximate cause of the crash. For instance, the driver ran a stop sign or swerved into another lane, while unwrapping a sandwich or reaching for an object.

Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Accident

Distracted drivers should be accountable when they cause a traffic accident. A California personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain, and suffering after a distracted driving accident. Contact us today for a free consultation

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.