California law bans texting while driving and use of handheld devices while driving, and significant education and enforcement efforts are ongoing to reduce the number of distracted-driving crashes throughout the state.
Still, a new study shows a 39-percent increase in California drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel over the last year. Why?
State officials point to a number of factors: not enough enforcement, not enough education, and a too-low penalty. In fact, a distracted-driving violation does not result in points on a driver's record, and the base fine usually comes to about $160. That is significantly less than the fine for other dangerous violations -- for example, letting someone ride in the trunk of your car, which results in fines totaling about $500.
You don't have to look far, though, to understand the danger of distracted drivingand in particular texting while driving. Studies have shown that texting while driving can be as dangerous as DUI.
An Office of Traffic Safety spokesperson pointed to the prevalence of smartphones and apps as a major factor in why distracted driving in California increased this past year. As use of smartphones becomes more deeply woven into everyday life, it is crucial that we take steps to educate drivers in the short and long terms: distracted driving is a killer, and the law prohibits use of handheld devices while behind the wheel.
Victims of distracted driving may need lifelong medical care and rehabilitation. This care is costly. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, then don't hesitate to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your right to compensation.