Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention off the activity of operating a vehicle. Looking or concentrating at something else other than the road, or taking your hands off your steering wheel is distracted driving.
California distracted driving law primarily focuses on decreasing crashes brought about by distractions from phones. Not all acts of distracted driving are unlawful. Scanning for a more interesting radio station or eating snacks while driving is legal. But, if you get into a collision, or commit a traffic violation because of the distraction, you may face legal charges.
If you’re involved in a distracted driving case, it’s best to seek legal advice from dependable Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys. Call the law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers today at 213-985-1120 for an initial consultation at no cost to you.
Distracted Driving Law in California
Currently, California’s law on distracted driving prohibits:
- Drivers on the road from reading or responding to text messages or other communications
- Motorists from utilizing handheld phones and gadgets while driving
- All drivers below 18 years of age from operating any mobile phone devices, even hands-free
- Operators of school buses and drivers of transit buses from utilizing mobile phones while driving
Exceptions to California Distracted Driving Laws
Certain exceptions apply to the California laws on distracted driving, namely:
- Texting is allowed if performed hands-free via voice-to-text systems
- Utilizing a mobile phone while on the road is allowed in emergency circumstances, like when you want to call law enforcement officers or an ambulance
- Emergency service providers are excluded from the mobile phone prohibition while driving a recognized emergency vehicle
- The state’s distracted driving law doesn’t apply when you’re operating a car on private property
Primary Enforcement vs. Secondary Enforcement
Primary enforcement means that police officers can pull a driver over if they spot them violating the distracted driving law. In secondary enforcement, a driver can receive a distracted driving citation if he or she breaks another law while being distracted. California State uses both types of enforcement.
Distracted driving laws typically fall under primary enforcement for most cases. So, even if you assume you’re in full control of a car, you might be pulled over for texting or calling.
How Much Do Californians Pay in Distracted Driving Fines?
For violating California distracted driving laws, a true cost fine of $162 applies for a first offense. For subsequent offenses, you’ll face a fine of $285. Points are added to a driver’s record if he or she had gotten another distracted driving citation within the past 18 months.
Since the fines are hefty, the next time you feel like texting while driving, just pull over first. That way, you’ll avoid a ticket and you’ll uphold the safety of other road users and yourself.
Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers
Distracted driving is dangerous and can lead to accidents. The outcome can be minor car damage, a totaled vehicle, devastating physical injuries, or even death. Distracted driving may also impact a driver’s insurance premiums and lead to fines. If you’ve suffered injuries because of a distracted driving accident, contact El Dabe Ritter to schedule a free consultation.