Distracted driving is still on the rise. Over the years, numerous states have enacted laws to curb the use of cell phones while driving. Yet, drivers simply cannot keep their eyes on the road. To make matters worse, car manufacturers now build distracting displays and infotainment systems into the vehicles themselves. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 3,177 lives in 2017 alone. To help reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road, legislators recently enacted new California driving laws. One of these laws increases the penalties for driving distracted.
A new California driving law is set to begin July 1, 2021. This law, known as AB 47, will impose an additional penalty on any driver who violates California’s existing hands-free law. Currently, the law in California prevents drivers from operating a handheld wireless telephone. Drivers who violate this law must pay a fine. After July 1, 2021, drivers will also receive a point on their driving record for at least 36 months.
Safety experts hope that this new law reduces the number of drivers using handheld devices on the road. In California and throughout the United States, using a cellphone while driving has resulted in serious injuries and accidents. Experts speculate that one in four car accidents now occurs because a driver was using a cell phone.
The reason why California has cell phone laws, is because cell phones pose a significant danger to everyone on the road. There are three types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. Using a cell phone while driving involves all three types of distractions. You use your eyes to see the screen. You use your hands to dial the number or text a message. Lastly, you use your brain to read a message. As such, cell phone usage is extremely dangerous when behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Nearly all states have some type of cell phone ban. California bans the use of texting at all times. It also prohibits the use of handheld devices. This means that drivers are not able to make phone calls, hold their phone, or text at any time while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a cell phone for any reason while driving — even in a hands-free manner.
To help curb distracted driving in the state, the California Office of Traffic Safety holds numerous public awareness campaigns each year. “Put Your Phone Down. Just Drive” and “Silence the Distraction” are two successful distracted driving campaigns. These campaigns emphasize that all functions of a cell phone distract drivers. Shuffling through music and searching GPS directions are just as dangerous as sending a text message. All of these actions are dangerous and illegal when driving. To prevent deadly accidents from occurring, all drivers need to put their phone down and focus on the task of driving.
New traffic laws in California aim to help reduce distracted driving across the state. If you have questions about new California driving laws or you suffered an injury in a crash, we can help. At Heinrich Law, PC, our Alameda car accident lawyers have the experience and knowledge needed to tackle even the most complex case. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal representation every step of the way.
Call us at (510) 944-0110 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. With an office conveniently located in Emeryville, we are ready to assist all injured clients throughout the Bay Area. Call us today to learn how we can help you after a serious car accident in the Bay Area.