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.