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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

New laws for cells behind the wheel

by | Dec 30, 2016 | Traffic Violations

People are slowly catching on about the risks they are taking when they text and drive. Hardly a week goes by that the news does not report a tragic story of a young mother killed by a driver texting, a child in a crosswalk run over by a distracted driver or a teen posting to Facebook seconds before a fatal crash.

California has seen its share of tragic accidents, yet its distracted driving rule had a serious flaw. The regulation specifically forbade the use of hand-held phones for talking and texting. In other words, you could still hold your phone and scroll through your playlist, post on social media or take a video without technically breaking the law.

Closing the loophole

As of January 2017, you will be allowed to use your phone behind the wheel under certain conditions:

  • Your phone cannot be in your hand while you drive.
  • You must mount your phone on the windshield or dashboard.
  • You may use voice activated controls on your phone.
  • You may start or end a function by touching, tapping or swiping your phone one time only.

Some argue that the bill is unenforceable and too restrictive. For example, if you use your phone to communicate with rideshare customers and locate addresses, you may find the law interferes with your business.

The consequences of breaking the law

Those who decide the new cellphone regulations are too much to handle may simply ignore them and take their chances. After all, the penalty is a small fine, and they may feel it is worth it, especially if their business depends on staying in contact.

Maybe you have been in a situation like this one. A car comes dangerously close to yours, perhaps crossing the line into your lane. When you lay on the horn, the driver looks up and recognizes the danger a fraction of a second before colliding with you. You knew without a doubt that the driver had been looking down at a cellphone.

This is the real penalty when drivers continue using their cellphones behind the wheel. Sadly, innocent victims like you, who just happened to be in the path when the distracted driver took his or her eyes off the road, pay the penalty.

What to do if you’re the victim

A recent California study revealed that one driver out of every eight operates a vehicle with attention divided between the phone and the road. State safety agencies blame distracted driving for 80 percent of accidents.

If you are part of those statistics and have suffered injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may wonder where to turn. Fortunately, you have an advocate in a personal injury attorney with experience investigating distracted driver claims.

An aggressive law firm will gather relevant evidence and data to build a strong case for compensation. Your attorneys will work for the justice you deserve.