Man texting while driving

Texting While Driving Laws in California

By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Texting While Driving (DWT) is a significant concern for drivers across California. A person who drives and texts is more distracted and more likely to cause a collision or accident. In some cases, the consequences can be severe. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a driving while texting accident, our California car accident attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and help you understand all of your options.    

DWT is Distracted Driving

Any activity that takes away your ability to focus on safe driving is dangerous. Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions. This is because sending or looking at a text can reduce your reaction time. It only takes a few seconds of loss of focus for a serious accident or injury to occur.

Texting While Driving Is Against the Law

It is illegal in California to drive using a cell phone or electronic communication device in your hand. The only acceptable way to use a device is in a hands-free manner. Furthermore, any driver under 18 is not allowed to use a mobile phone for any reason, even if hands-free.

There are, of course, some exceptions. For example, a person may use their phone in an emergency to call the police, 911, for medical assistance, the fire department, or other emergency services. A driver may also use their hand to operate a handheld device under California law if the device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield, dashboard, or center console if it does not block their view of the road.

Who Is Responsible for a Driving While Texting Accident?

Just as with any other car accident, injured drivers and passengers have the right to be compensated for their injuries and other damages from the person who caused the accident. Identifying who is at fault for a car accident is very important because California is an “at-fault” liability state. An injured person may file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

But, as part of this process, you must show a driver is at fault. When texting is involved, having a police report that cites the other driver with a DWT will make your case significantly easier. However, if you do not have this in the police report, you will have to prove fault by other means. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case’s facts and advise you on how to proceed and if you have a claim. 

In California, any contribution of the injured driver to the accident is also considered. This means any actions the driver took to cause the accident can be taken into account by a court or insurance company. This consideration is called comparative negligence. If you contributed to the accident by being negligent in any way, a court or insurance company might reduce your recovery by their degree of responsibility. 

Consult With an Attorney

We have experience handling all car accident cases, including texting while driving cases. You may be entitled to damages if you have been in an accident and suspect the other driver was texting while driving. These include reimbursement for your medical expenses, injuries, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and more. But, time is limited in California to bring a personal injury claim. You usually have two years, with certain exceptions. Do not delay in addressing your claim. We offer a free initial consultation and compassionate, personalized legal advice. Contact us today.

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.