California Car Accident Laws Regarding Distracted Driving

Every year, California sees far too many car accidents related to distracted driving. In 2017, almost 22,000 drivers were involved in a distracted-driving-related California car accident.

Ever since “hands-free” cell phone usage became part of California’s auto accident laws, there has been a decrease in the number of deaths related to distracted driving. However, distracted driving still remains a major problem within the state.

Here is what California’s car accident laws have to say about distracted driving.

Types of Distracted Driving

Simply put, anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or your hands from the steering wheel, can be considered distracted driving. This can involve:

  • Arguing with other passengers
  • Reaching for an object on the floor
  • Changing the radio
  • And more

However, arguably the most frequent form of distracted driving involves using a cellphone, whether it’s used for texting, calling, or for any other purpose.

How to Handle Your Device

California’s distracted driving laws have put forth some very clear guidelines when it comes to using your cellphone or other electronic device. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Drivers are not allowed to use their cellular device to call or text, or for any other purpose while holding said device.
  • Drivers are allowed to call or text with their device if they have a hands-free system installed.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using phones, even if they have a hands-free system.

California’s definition of a hands-free system states that a phone must be mounted on a windshield or dashboard in a way that doesn’t obstruct vision, and the driver must be able to activate/deactivate said device with a single swipe or tap.

You are allowed to use a phone without a hands-free device if you are making an emergency phone call to law enforcement or similar service, or you are driving on private property.

Distracted Driving Penalties

Under California law, unauthorized cell phone use in a vehicle is an infraction punishable by a $20 fine on the first offense. Each subsequent infraction earns a $50 fine. In addition, you will have to pay a fine for penalty assessment, which can increase your fine to $150.

Contact David L. Milligan

If you find yourself in an auto accident, don’t panic. There is someone who is experienced with the California car accident laws. The law offices of David L. Milligan know the right way to handle a car accident and are ready to become your advocate.

Contact David L. Milligan today and resolve your case!