Distracted Driving Offense Laws in the State of California

The heavy involvement of smart phones in our everyday lives has sparked a national conversation about the dangers of distracted driving. To combat these risks, lawmakers have attempted to regulate all behind-the-wheel distractions.

Phone Use Behind the Wheel

Texting and driving is a leading cause of accidents, and is considered to be one of the most dangerous things you can do as a driver. The risks of using a cell phone while driving are well-documented — according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, it triples your accident risk — and multiple states have implemented legal consequences in response.

In the state of California, all phone use while driving a car (besides hands-free communication) is a primary offense. Therefore, a police officer can pull you over and issue a citation if they see you on your phone, regardless of whether or not you are committing any other traffic violations at the time. For repeat offenders, texting and driving can result in points on your license. If a driver accumulates enough points, they could face license suspension, revocation, or raised insurance rates.

Other Distractions

Distracted driving includes more than just phone use behind the wheel. Any activity that causes you to be visually, manually, or cognitively distracted from the task of driving is equally as dangerous as texting.

Examples of distracted driving that do not involve the use of a cell phone include:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Applying makeup, brushing your hair, etc.
  • Speaking to other people in your car
  • Putting directions into a GPS
  • Using the radio

Unfortunately, these other types of distracted driving are not regulated as strictly as phone use. Distracted driving legislation throughout the country tends to focus specifically on smart phones, although other distractions could be considered a secondary offense if a driver is pulled over for another reason. A police officer could issue additional reckless driving charges if they believe a distraction contributed to other traffic violations.

Distracted driving is consistently a factor in auto accidents. If you were injured in a collision, Tedford & Associates may be able to help.

Complete our contact form or call (626) 325-0142 to schedule a free consultation with our talented attorneys.

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