California laws concerning cell phone use while driving are about to become more strict. A new law in California prohibits any use of a cell phone while driving unless it is hands free. California Highway Patrol officers are focusing on patrols aimed at stopping drivers from texting and driving and operating their cell phones while driving. According to authorities, if a driver is holding a cell phone in their hands while driving, they are in violation of the law. When the stricter cell phone law goes into effect at the beginning of 2017, using maps or accessing a playlist by holding a cell phone while driving will be prohibited. One officer noted he believes the new law clarifies for drivers what is legal and what is not legal.
One CHP officer noted that drivers who drive distracted appear like impaired drivers, who often fluctuate speeds and weave while driving. According to the National Traffic Safety Council, 1.6 million car accidents are caused by the use of cell phones while driving. The new law is aimed at holding drivers accountable and ensuring drivers are operating their vehicles in the safest manner possible and the best way to do that is to not drive distracted. Once the new law goes into effect, drivers will face a $20 fine for violations with progressively steeper fines for additional violations.
Victims of distracted driving-related car accidents may suffer a variety of physical, financial and emotional damages. Victims should not be left with the harm associated with a distracted driving-related car accident, which is why the legal system provides options to help victims recover compensation for damages they have suffered from the negligent driver responsible for causing their accident. Violations of the law can be used to establish that a driver was negligent or careless which may create liability to victims for damages.
It is important for victims of distracted driving-related car accidents in California to be familiar with the protections available to help them. Car accident victims should always be aware that legal resources are available to ensure they are protected.
Source: Action News Now, "CHP officers: New California distracted driving law could save lives," Sara Stinson, Oct. 4, 2016