How Much Do You Know About Distracted Driving Laws in California?
It may seem that distracted driving is in the news or your favorite blogs every day, but this is for a good reason: It continues to be an issue. Thousands of people die or sustain catastrophic injuries every year due to distracted driving. This is why many states have passed laws in an attempt to reduce distracted driving.
California is one such state. We have found that many people do not realize what the laws are or how serious the consequences can be for not following the laws. Keep reading to find out more about these laws and to learn what you should do if you are involved in an accident as a result of someone not following these laws.
Drivers Are Prohibited from Using Handheld Cell Phones While Driving
The state of California’s distracted driving laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a car while using a handheld cell phone. This law applies not just to phones but to any type of “electronic wireless communications device.” Anyone who is not yet 18 years old cannot use any electronic devices while driving. However, drivers over the age of 18 are not prohibited from using hands-free devices.
It is illegal to send or view text messages while driving – even when the driver has stopped the vehicle at a red light or is caught in traffic. Texting is not even legal when a car is parked in a parking lot. These laws are in place to protect citizens from distracted driving as much as possible.
Cell Phones Are Not the Only Things Distracting Drivers
While the laws in California do not make other types of distractions unlawful, it is still wise to avoid them. For example, grooming, eating, using GPS, reading, trying to handle backseat passengers, looking for something you dropped, or changing the radio station or podcast can all distract a driver and put them at a higher risk of being involved in a car accident.
It is also important to note that while a police officer is not likely to ticket a person for eating, grooming, or taking part in other distractions that are not officially unlawful, they can still ticket for related offenses. For example, if a driver does not use their blinker, does not stop fully at an intersection, or is otherwise involved in illegal behavior, they could still be pulled over.
Distraction Does Not Automatically Mean the Driver is at Fault
When it comes to a car accident, if one driver was engaged in distracted driving then it is more likely they are at fault than the driver who was not – but this is not automatic. A person may have looked down at their radio to change the station and been hit by a drunk driver. In this instance, the drunk driver is likely at fault.
The best way to know what your best options are is to contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.