California Takes on Texting While Driving

Why is it so dangerous to text and drive?

Any activity that diverts your attention away from driving, including texting, eating, or using your GPS, results in distracted driving.  Distracted driving is believed to kill over 3,477 people each year and injure another 390,000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  In an effort to combat distracted driving, California lawmakers have passed laws banning the practice.  Our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at J&Y discuss California’s distracted driving laws and why it is so dangerous to use your phone while driving.

California’s Current Distracted Driving Laws

California Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on January 1, 2017.  The bill makes it illegal to drive while holding a cell phone in your hand.  Prior to this law, California banned motorists from using their cell phones to write, send, or read a text-based communication.  With the new law, California has gone one step further in its fight to end distracted driving.  Under the new law, drivers are not permitted to drive while holding their wireless device, but they can use a cell phone in hands free mode or via a mounting device.  

Other distracting activities, like eating, drinking, or engaging in personal grooming are not banned specifically, but can be punished.  If a law enforcement officer observes a driver behaving in a manner that is distracting enough to potentially create a danger, he or she can be cited.  

Texting:  Three Levels of Distraction

Many behaviors can be distracting, but texting is considered one of the most dangerous behaviors in which a driver can possibly engage.  That is because texting and driving distracts drivers on three different levels:

  1. Manually:  Texting causes you to take one or both of your hands off the steering wheel.
  2. Visually:  Texting causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and surrounding vehicles.
  3. Cognitively:  Texting while driving takes your mind off the road and leaves you vulnerable to making costly driving errors.  

If you have been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver, contact a car accident attorney right away.  Building a case against a distracted driving can be challenging, but with prompt action your car accident lawyer can assist you in recovering compensation for the damages you have suffered.