New California Law to Curb Driving While Distracted

Distracted Driving Laws California

An assembly bill in California, if it becomes the law, may put an end to the motion/gesture of scrolling on a hand held device while operating a vehicle. According to a news report in the Sacramento Bee, Assembly Bill 1785 authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would require motorists to mount their smart phones on their car’s windshield or dashboard and use them only for things that require the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger. The point of this bill is pretty simple, Quirk says: To prevent distracted driving. The Assembly passed the bill 45-16 after the Senate passed it last week with a 23-13 vote.

What This Bill Means

The bill now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. Texting and calling while driving is already illegal in California, except when you are using a hands-free device. But a court ruled that other features such as navigation apps are not forbidden under current law. If this law passes, that loophole would essentially be closed. Holding and operating a phone for any reason while driving would be outlawed.

Under this law, there would be a $20 fine for the first offense and a $50 penalty for subsequent violations. Passage of this law would also mean some of the more commonly used apps, including the hugely popular mobile game Pokemon Go, may soon become illegal in California.

Also, according to a recent study by the Auto Insurance Center, which searched more than 70,000 Instagram posts for driving and selfie-related hashtags, California was number one for people who took the most number of selfies while driving. Californians took more driving selfies than anyone else nationwide. The number of posts was twice that of New Yorkers. Californians posted 2.53 driving selfies per 100,000 residents, the study showed. The new law will hopefully also cut out this type of dangerous behavior.

The Danger of Distracted Driving

Any action that involves taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or attention away from the act of driving amounts to distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that distracted driving was a factor in about 10 percent of all fatal car accidents and in 18 percent of all crashes involving serious injuries. Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but also others who are using the roadway. One out of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year.

Distracted driving amounts to negligence. If you cause a crash while driving distracted, you may be held financially responsible for the victim’s injuries, damages and losses. It may be challenging to prove the extent to which driver distraction is a contributing factor in a car accident. Cell phone records are usually one of the few ways such facts can be established. It often takes an experienced Sacramento car accident attorney to get to the bottom of these cases and hold the at-fault parties accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, contact the Demas Law Group P.C., at (916) 444-0100 to schedule a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.