Apr 2013

Distracted Driver Crackdown Coming to California

Our Orange County, CA car accident attorneys know that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and that distracted drivers are responsible for around a million car crashes each year in the United States. Thousands of lives could be saved if drivers simply paid attention to the road. 

Unfortunately, despite the known dangers, many people choose to engage in the behavior anyway. Now, however, NBC Southern California has announced that law enforcement plans to increase enforcement efforts.

Distracted Driving Crackdown Planned

According to NBC Southern California, hundreds of police agencies throughout the state will be launching an effort to enforce state restrictions on cell phone use and texting. The police are launching their enforcement initiative on the five-year anniversary of the state’s distracted driving laws.

Law enforcement will be working to stop distracted driving by ticketing drivers who are using their mobile phones while operating their vehicles. Police will be out in full force in a “blitz of California freeways” and those who are caught breaking California’s laws face fines. The campaign to issue more tickets also coincides with Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

California Laws on Distracted Driving

California currently has several laws in place that police will be enforcing as part of efforts to stop distracted drivers. The law mandates that drivers 18 and older can use their cell phone only if they have a hands-free device. Drivers ages 18 and under aren’t allowed to use any kind of wireless devices or handheld devices while they drive.

In 2012, police issued more than 40,000 tickets to drivers who were breaking these distracted driving laws. This is a 31 percent increase in the number of tickets as compared with 2009. During 2012, more than 21,000 of the tickets issued were for texting. With the stepped-up enforcement efforts, it is likely that many more drivers will be ticketed this year.

As police work on the roads to stop distracted driving, lawmakers are also working in the legislature to impose even harsher penalties on drivers who engage in the risky behavior of distracted driving. There are currently two bills making their way through the state legislature, which would raise the fines that a distracted driver must pay and which would suspend the driver’s license of repeat offenders.

A new product may also be coming to the market, referred to as the Dock-N-Lock system, which will make it impossible to start the car unless a mobile phone has been docked into the vehicle’s dashboard.

Staying Safe from Distracted Drivers

While the crackdown and tougher laws may help stop distracted drivers, there is currently a serious crisis that is going to be difficult to resolve. More than 3,300 people die annually as a direct result of distracted driving crashes, and those who drive while on a cell phone are 23 times as likely to get into a crash.

This needs to change, through both law enforcement and through a shift in the way that people view distracted driving. Until every driver makes a commitment not to drive while on a phone or texting, drivers continue to put themselves and other motorists at risk.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.