There were more than 485,866 motor vehicle collisions last year in California. Most of these crashes were caused by simple distracted driving mistakes that were completely preventable. That’s why the state of California has enacted a list of laws aimed at dealing with and reducing distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
California laws define distracted driving as “anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or hands off the steering wheel – especially when texting or using a cell phone. These laws are primarily focused on reducing collisions caused by the distraction from cell phones.
Not all distractions behind the wheel are illegal. For example, you can legally change the radio station or munch on chips while driving. However, if you are involved in a crash or commit a moving violation while distracted, you can have a “reckless driving” or “speeding too fast for conditions” violation added to your citation.
California Distracted Driving Laws
Below is a list of laws that pertain to distracted driving in California:
- California Vehicle Code, Section 23123: California drivers are not allowed to use a cell phone to read texts or make calls on a public road, unless they have a hands-free system installed. This section does not apply if the cell phone is used for emergency purposes.
- California Vehicle Code, Section 23123.5: Drivers are only allowed to operate a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communication device if it is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation that meets the guidelines of the code section.
- California Vehicle Code, Section 23124: All California drivers under 18 are prohibited the use of communication devices even in hands free mode, unless used for emergency purposes to call an emergency services agency or entity.
- California Vehicle Code, Section 231235: All drivers of a school bus or transit vehicle, as defined in subdivision (g) of Section 99247 of the Public Utilities Code, are prohibited to use a wireless telephone while operating their vehicle, unless used for emergency purposes to call an emergency services agency or entity.
Penalties for mobile phone use while driving are considered an infraction punishable with a $20 fine for a first offense, and $50 fine for each subsequent conviction. Furthermore, you will have to pay fines for penalty assessments which can increase your total fine to $60 – $150.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have achieved over $140 million for their clients so far. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of the attorneys, call 949-727-9300.