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The effect of Los Angeles County’s cellphone laws on distracted driving

While Los Angeles County has made it a point to enforce some of the strictest policies regarding cell phone use and texting in the United States, many drivers continue to lose their lives from accidents involving distracted drivers. In fact, approximately 3,500 teenagers alone were involved in fatal accidents due to distracted driving in 2012. Not to mention the staggering statistics from other age populations. Across the entire country, states are combatting the issue of distracted driving by implementing new laws and educating residents on the dangers of driving while distracted.

Current cellphone laws

Although California currently enforces a ban on handheld cellular devices and texting for all drivers, teenagers are restricted from using any type of wireless communications device until they are over 18 years of age. Bus drivers are also restricted from using any type of cellular device while driving. The California Highway Patrol is always on the lookout for people breaking the strict no-devices policy.

Due to the rising incidents of motor vehicle accidents caused by cellphone use and texting despite strict laws banning the use of cellphones, California is increasing the fines tied to the offense. Instead of the original $125 for a first time cellphone offense, the fine will now be $150. Second offenders can expect to pay $300 rather than the original $250. If you are caught a third time, you will be charged a $500 fine, a $100 increase from the previous amount.

Other forms of distracted driving

Although cellphone use and texting are the number one reasons for driver distraction, any type of non-attentive behavior while driving can be dangerous. The following also poses a considerable threat to others on the road:

  • Reading.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Grooming.
  • Watching videos.
  • Talking to passengers .
  • Adjusting the radio.
  • Reaching for a fallen object.
  • Programming your navigation device.

Why are teens at risk?

Teenagers by nature are very social animals. This alone makes them three times more at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Although current California laws restrict handheld cellphone use and texting while driving, many teenagers choose to engage in the behavior anyway.

Tips on how to avoid distracted driving

Avoiding all types of distracted driving can save lives. Consider the following:

  • Never text while driving. No message is more important than your own life or the life of someone else.
  • Organize your music, papers, children and navigation system before driving.
  • Try not to talk on the phone while driving. If you have an emergency, always use a hands-free device.
  • Let others know the importance of driving attentively.

While you may not think you are engaging in distracted driving, many drivers do it on a daily basis without being aware. If you or someone you know becomes involved in an accident caused by distracted driving, be sure to call an experienced attorney right away. Not only are they fully up to date on all California laws regarding distracted drivers, but they will walk you through the entire process.

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