The state of California has taken many steps to prevent distracted driving in recent years. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 80 percent of motor vehicle accidents involve inattentive drivers. Driver distraction may be caused by a variety of factors, including interacting with passengers and consuming food while driving.
Despite the many types of distracted driving, cellphone misuse remains one of the most common and dangerous forms. Using a cellphone while driving is a dangerous activity that can result in property damage, personal injury and fatalities. Here is what you need to know about California laws regarding this issue.
How the new cell phone use ban works and affects drivers
Drivers in California have been banned from making phone calls and texting for several years, but this did not prohibit using handheld cellphones for other purposes. Many drivers continued to use their phones to browse social media, take pictures and look up directions while driving. The new 2017 law has made it illegal to drive while using cellphones for any reason. Hands-free cellphones and Bluetooth devices are still permitted.
Motorists may still face continued risks
Despite the comprehensive ban on cellphone use, some drivers may still participate in activities that cause distraction. For one, drivers may ignore the law and continue cellphone use. Many drivers continue to not understand the risks this activity poses. Furthermore, studies suggest that hands-free devices still cause a significant amount of cognitive distraction. Using hands-free technology is still legal under California law but proves to be a contributing factor to distraction.
Other forms of distracted driving continue to cause accidents, such as:
- Eating and drinking
- Putting on makeup or combing hair
- Adjusting radio or other instrument controls
- Reading maps
This goes to show that while the ban on cellphone use while driving has expanded, it does not eliminate the risk of being the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers can involve serious damages and injuries, as drivers typically do not have time to brake to make the crash less severe. In these situations, victims are especially concerned with seeking all compensation that is available to them. Consulting a motor vehicle accident attorney can play a crucial role in helping a survivor understand his or her legal options and appropriate compensation.
Damages that can be compensated in a distracted driving case include lost wages and medical bills. If you have been involved in a distracted driving accident, securing legal representation can help you understand your options and get back on track.