Cell Phone Ban Study Shows Reduction in California Fatal Car Accidents

The dangers of distracted driving, especially texting while behind the wheel, has been clearly established for years. The national effort to ban texting, talking on teh phone, and other smartphone use by drivers is possibly the most important safety development since seat belt use became mandatory a generation ago.

California has seen a significant reduction in traffic deaths since the newer state law banned hand-held cell phone use in 2008, according to study results released by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Based on an analysis of state crash records before and after the ban went into effect, the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at UC-Berkeley found that vehicle accident fatalities decreased by 22 percent while deaths caused by drivers using hand-held cell phones went down an impressive 47 percent. Highway safety advocates cite this as clear proof that the hand-held ban has reduced accident-related fatalities and injuries in California.

Related information from the Department of Motor Vehicles showed that convictions for violating the phone ban have steadily increased since 2008, when the law first went into effect. As most Californians know from the state's "It's Not Worth It!" campaign, a first offense ticket costs $159 and a subsequent offense leads to a $279 fine.

Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, celebrated the result but cautioned that talking and texting while driving is still far too common. Murphy provided a sound reminder: "A good step for parents is to never call or text your kids if you think they might be driving."

Real Lives Saved by Prohibiting Distracted Driving Behaviors

There is no denying that the ban on using phones while driving has been very beneficial. California Sen. Joe Simitian, the author of the bill that finally became law after five attempts, told the San Jose Mercury News that the results are clear proof that the driving culture is changing: "The driving public understands that this is risky behavior, and most people are complying."

Despite the progress, there are still thousands of accidents caused by using smartphones and cellular devices while driving. Far too many people are still being seriously injured, disabled, or killed by drivers who are distracted by texting or talking on the phone. While a conviction for violation of the phone ban and/or other driving infractions is appropriate, that does not help the victim. The only avenue the victims have to be compensated for the harm caused to them is through a personal injury suit handled by a personal injury attorney who has a track record of success.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, we encourage you to reach out to Biren Law Group today to discuss your case.