During 2017, around 391,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes. This type of negligent behavior contributed to 8.5 percent of all traffic collisions resulting in fatalities in the United States, which numbered in the thousands. Discovering the causes of distracted or inattentive driving can help lower those numbers and make drivers more conscious of making bad decisions while behind the wheel of a car.
Justice with a Distracted Trucker Law Firm
If a distracted driver caused your accident injuries, you may be able to claim compensation to pay for your pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills. Los Angeles big rig accident lawyer David Azizi understands and sympathizes with what you’re going through. His clients appreciate his compassion, dedication to the legal profession and legal acumen. If negligence caused your suffering, phone David at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a no-obligation, free case review. Super Lawyers, the legal ranking firm, calls him one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Los Angeles area.
Distracted Driving Laws in California
Laws in California prohibit the hands-on use of wireless devices unless they are hands-free or voice-operated. Earlier laws only prohibited texting, however, all wireless functions of a device are covered by current laws. This means that drivers cannot use cellphones or tablets to access GPS or a web browser while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any mobile device, except in the event of an emergency. Penalties for using one are the same as those for adults. Transit and school bus drivers may not use wireless devices, except for emergency and work-related purposes.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Distracted Driving Law?
There are several exceptions to distracted driving laws in California. They are:
- Emergency responders are exempt from distracted driving laws while they are on call in an authorized vehicle.
- Those who operate hands-free, voice-operated devices are exempt. However, it has been shown that using a mobile device in this way is almost as dangerous.
- An exception is made for mounted GPS systems, as long as no more than one swipe or tap is needed. However, the GPS must be mounted on the center console or dash.
What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?
Motorists who are convicted of distracted driving receive a $20 fine for the first violation. If it is the second violation or more, the fine is raised to $50. Taxes and other costs are usually added to the base fine. No points are added to the motorist’s driving record. Transit and bus drivers face one point on their driving record and fines up to $250 for improper use of a cell phone.
Causes of Distracted Driving or Inattention
There are many causes of distracted driving or areas where inattention occurs, which can lead to a major traffic accident. These include:
- Texting or talking on a cell phone: Use of a cell phone takes the driver’s attention away from the road ahead and interferes with their observance of surrounding traffic conditions. The National Safety Council has reported that up to 26 percent of all accidents are caused by either texting or talking on a cell phone.
- Changing a radio station or turning the volume up or down: This activity causes your attention to be divided, and drivers usually look toward the radio to make those changes. This results in three types of distraction, visual, cognitive and manual.
- Checking the GPS: Many people use their GPS to reach their destination, especially if it is somewhere they’ve never been before. However, setting up a GPS route when driving a car is as dangerous as sending or reading a text message. Setting the GPS up before leaving and turning up the volume to listen to the directions is much safer.
- Looking away from the road: There are many reasons people look away from the road. They might be looking for an address, enjoying scenery they’ve never seen before or eyeing an accident by the side of the road while passing. While these activities may seem innocent, they can lead to a serious accident.
- Chatting with passengers: While most people visit with passengers while driving, they need to ensure that the roadway in front of them is more important. If you must talk to a passenger, do it with your eyes on the road, and don’t turn your head to look at the person in the other seat.
- Personal grooming: Too many people have been going down the road and saw a woman putting on her makeup or combing her hair while driving or even a man using an electric shaver. These activities take the person’s eyes from the roadway and involve using one of the hands, which is an unsafe practice.
- Eating or drinking in the car: It isn’t unusual to see people drinking a soda or eating a hamburger in their car as they go down the road. Because this takes the driver’s hands and eyes off the roadway and interferes with their concentration, it can be dangerous. It is always better to stop to eat, even if you don’t get out of your car, although the break from driving can help refresh you.
- Pets and children in the car: Both pets and children can be major distractions while driving. Children talk, fight and complain. A loose dog or cat in the car can end up jumping into the front seat and even get down onto the floor where the driver’s brake pedal and accelerator are located. When children cause a problem, pull off the road into a parking lot to handle it. Pets can be restrained in special seats or enclosures to make the trip safer.
- Daydreaming: So, a driver is following a route that they follow every day to work and zones out. When some drivers have been following the same route for years, they may not remember the trip until they reach their destination. This autopilot type of behavior is extremely dangerous because the motorist may have missed seeing a red light, a pedestrian crossing the street or been involved in other actions that endanger themselves and others.
Free Case Review for Your Injury Claims from Distracted Trucker Accidents
David Azizi’s record as a personal injury lawyer shows that he wins 98 percent of his cases and has worked for 25 years helping his clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Although obtaining financial compensation does not affect the pain and suffering you or your loved one have gone through, it does ease the financial burden, letting you concentrate on getting better. If you or your loved one was injured through negligence, call David at (800) 991-5292 any time of day of night, any day of the week to schedule your free case review. David will also come to you if you are unable to make it into the office.