California Laws Around Texting and Driving
Texting while driving is illegal in the state of California. The only legal way to use a cell phone while driving is hands-free unless you are on private property or making an emergency call to police, fire, or ambulance. In 2019, 57.9 percent of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or almost hit by a driver talking on the phone or texting. Distracted driving accidents can cause serious injuries or even death for everyone involved.
People who violate this law will pay a base fine of $20 for the first offense and a fine of $50 for each subsequent offense. As of July 1, 2021, a texting-while-driving violation may add one point to your record if said violation is within 36 months of a previous distracted driving offense. Enough points on your record can lead to your license being revoked.
Dangers of Texting While Driving
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves three types of distractions simultaneously:
- Visual distractions which occur when a driver diverts their eyes from the road to use their device.
- Manual distractions which happen when a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to operate their device.
- Cognitive distractions which occur when a driver’s attention shifts away from the task of driving safely.
Despite being a relatively new problem, the dangers of texting and driving have been extensively studied due to the high number of accidents it causes yearly. These studies have revealed several enlightening statistics concerning the risks of texting and driving:
- Timing – Research shows it takes approximately five seconds to read a text message. Five seconds may seem insignificant, but it is a considerable amount of time when you are behind the wheel. Looking down at your phone to read a text significantly reduces your reaction time, making it more likely that you won’t be able to respond in time if the car in front of you suddenly stops. Consequently, diverting your attention from the road to reading a text message leads to accidents.
- Increased odds – Texting and driving nearly doubles the likelihood of being involved in a car accident. During the five seconds it takes to read a text message or glance at your phone, you and other drivers are not focused on the road. This not only leads to collisions with other vehicles but also increases the risk of various other accidents, such as running over curbs, sidewalks, trees, and other objects.
- Texting and driving is more dangerous than drunk driving – This statistic underscores the severity of texting and driving. Studies have found that motorists who participate in texting and driving are six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk drivers.
A 2021 Public Opinion Survey found that 74.3% of Californians consider texting and driving their top traffic safety concern.
Common Injuries in Texting While Driving Accidents
According to the National Safety Council, approximately 390,000 injuries occur yearly due to texting while driving accidents. These injuries tend to be severe because the distraction caused by texting prevents drivers from recognizing hazards on the road and taking necessary evasive actions.
Here are some common injuries sustained in texting-while-driving accidents:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Multiple fractures
- Damage to internal organs
- Damage to spinal discs
- Abrasions and deep cuts
- Wrongful death
Damages in Distracted Driving Cases
Damages typically included in a texting while driving case may involve:
- Emergency room, hospitalization, and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost earnings resulting from the accident
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial expenses, as well as other substantial damages in the event of wrongful death
Experienced Legal Representation For California Texting and Driving Accidents
If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to someone who was texting while driving, the distracted driving accident lawyers at Sally Morin can provide you with experienced legal representation to help you recover the compensation you deserve. With our extensive experience in handling text and drive accidents throughout our years of practice, we can guide you through this challenging time, ensuring that your rights to compensation for damages and losses are preserved and protected.
Contact Sally Morin Law – 877-380-8852 after being injured in a texting and driving accident in California for a free case evaluation. We will not rest until we get you the settlement you rightfully deserve.