There is good news and bad news to report about distracted driving in California. The good news is that drivers are using their handheld cell phones less while driving, ten years after ‘hands free’ became the law of the land. But the bad news is that distracted driving is still killing and injuring Californians in alarming numbers. Across the nation, 3,154 people were killed by distracted driving in 2013. More than 420,000 were injured.
Every April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and safety advocates around the state have been focusing resources on educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. For example, the Santa Monica Police Department recently joined law enforcement agencies across California to increase enforcement and awareness of distracted driving. Officers in April had a special focus on strictly enforcing the state’s cell phone and distracted driving laws. The goal was to boost voluntary compliance, but citations were handed out so drivers would be reminded to stay completely focused on driving.
California law enforcement officers have issued hundreds of thousands of traffic tickets over the past three years to people who were texting or calling on a hand-held cell phone while driving. This was for good reason: 2017 traffic accident data for California showed that 22,000 were involved in distracted driving crashes. While this was a drop from 33,000 in 2007, there were still far too many injuries and deaths that were completely preventable.
Distracted Driving Safety Tips
California law enforcement wants to remind drivers of the following tips:
- If you get a text message or need to send one while driving, you need to pull over to a safe location, but you should never pull over on a freeway for anything other than an emergency. Once you are safely away from traffic, then you can text.
- Make a passenger the designated texter. He or she can access your phone and communicate for you while you are driving.
- Do not message or scroll on your phone while you are behind the wheel, even when at a stop sign or traffic light.
- Using a cell phone regularly can be addictive. Some people find it is better to put the cell phone on the back seat or even in the trunk while driving.
Distracted Driving and Negligence
It is possible to win a personal injury lawsuit for distracted driving injuries in California, particularly if a cell phone is involved. Drivers are not allowed to drive while holding a wireless device unless it is hands free and voice activated. If the plaintiff can show evidence that the other driver was texting and driving, then this will constitute evidence of negligence that can lead to winning a lawsuit.
Have You Been Harmed By a Distracted Driver in Southern California?
If you were injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver’s negligence, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, disability and pain and suffering — both mental and physical. For a complimentary consultation about your distracted driving case, please contact the personal injury attorneys of Neale & Fhima today.