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Understanding California Laws For Texting And Driving

Posted by Dan Kann | May 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

Reasons for Distracted Driving

Driving a motor vehicle while being engaged in any activity that makes you lose focus is termed as distracted driving. In an alarming trend, texting while driving has become one of the major reasons for distracted driving and subsequently, one of the leading causes of accidents nationally and in California. Some of the other reasons for distraction while driving are:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Surfing the internet
  • Viewing social media
  • Eating or drinking
  • Checking the weather or maps
  • Grooming
  • Adjusting audio controls or the navigation system
  • Taking a photo

Understanding the Dangers of Texting and Driving

We can classify distracted driving into three categories, according to the CDC:

Visual: where the driver takes their eyes off the road

Manual: where the driver takes their hands off the wheel

Cognitive: where the driver takes their mind off driving

It is quite disturbing to know that if you text while driving, it involves all three types of distractions. When you do not focus fully on handling the car, it becomes a safety hazard and increases the chances of an accident.

You have your eyes are on the phone which distracts you visually as your eyes are not on the road. You have your hands on the phone which distracts you manually as your hands are not on the wheel. You have your mind on the text that you are typing which substantially curtails your cognitive abilities.

California Texting and Driving Laws

Accidents due to texting and driving have severe repercussions for the victims and legal consequences for the drivers. There is an alarming increase in accidents due to texting and driving every year, causing injuries and deaths.

Under California laws, there is a ban on various phone-related activities while driving. Victims of such accidents can file lawsuits to claim compensation under the state laws. 

California State Law for All Drivers

The California state law for using wireless electronics while operating a motor vehicle underwent changes and the new provisions of the law became effective from January 1st, 2017. Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code states that a driver cannot use a smartphone while driving unless it has a hands-free function and voice-operated configuration. On top of this, a driver can use and operate a smartphone only if:

  • the device is affixed to the center console or dashboard, or mounted on the windshield of the vehicle
  • the driver can turn the smartphone functions on or off with a click or a single swipe

Previously, the law prohibited drivers only from talking and texting on their phones while driving. With the new amendment, other activities such as browsing online, scrolling through playlists, and posting on social media also fall under the ambit of the law. 

California State Laws for Younger Drivers

A different section of the Code provides laws relating to drivers under 18 years of age. The law prohibits anyone aged 17 or younger to use any type of wireless electronic communication device while driving. This ban is irrespective of whether the device can be used in a hands-free mode. 

The reason behind this stringent requirement is the statistics, both California and nationwide, that show a distressing incidence of texting and driving in teens.

Contact a Kann California Law Group Attorney Today!

Despite strict laws in place, injuries, and fatalities because of texting and driving have become an unfortunate part of our lives. If you or someone you love is a victim of someone's carelessness, you have the right to claim compensation for the damages. You need to hire a vehicle accident attorney with competence in texting and driving cases, who can protect your interests and fight for your rights in court.

At the Kann California Law Group, we are aware of the pain and disruption caused by a personal injury to you or a loved one. We can represent you in Ventura, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Encino, Pasadena, and many other Southern California cities. Call us today at (888)744-7730 or contact us through our online contact form. We are eager to help and can answer your questions during a free and confidential case consultation.

About the Author

Dan Kann

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


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