In today’s world, there’s more pressure than ever before to be connected at all times.
But when a driver tries to send a text message or post to Instagram or Snapchat while they’re behind the wheel, the results can be tragic.
Far too many people make the mistake of thinking that they’re such good drivers that they can easily answer a phone call or send a text message while driving. But taking your eyes off the road even for just a few seconds significantly increases the risk of a car accident. According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes approximately 5 seconds, and when traveling at 55 MPH, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
What is distracted driving?
When people hear the term “distracted driving,” they often picture someone using their phone while they’re supposed to be focusing on the road. But in reality, distracted driving can take many forms and using a phone is just one of them.
Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from driving is considered distracted driving. This includes things like eating, drinking, putting on makeup, adjusting a GPS system, watching videos, having a conversation, taking pictures, or changing the radio station.
There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual distractions: Any kind of distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off of the road.
- Manual distractions: A distraction that forces a driver to take their hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive distractions: A distraction that takes a driver’s concentration away from the road.
California distracted driving laws
California law prohibits drivers from using cell phones while driving, unless the device is in hands-free mode. This applies to all uses of a cell phone, including making/answering phone calls, sending/receiving text messages, using social media, and browsing the internet.
If a driver is using a phone or tablet to get directions, they are legally allowed to make changes to their navigation app, as long as they only need to make one tap/swipe to do so and the device is either in the center console or mounted on the dashboard. The cell phone ban also does not apply if someone is driving on private property or trying to contact emergency services.
California’s laws about cell phone use while driving are different for drivers under the age of 18. Drivers under the age of 18 are completely banned from using cell phones and other mobile devices while driving, even if the device is in voice-activated mode. The only exception is if the driver needs to call for help in an emergency.
Bus drivers and other transit operators also banned from using cell phones while driving on the job, but they may be allowed to do so for emergency or work-related purposes.
Common injuries from distracted driving accidents
Damages in a distracted driving accident claim
If you’re considering making a claim for damages in a distracted driving accident, some types of damages you can collect include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- In-home medical care and assistance
- Property damage
- Lost income
- Funeral expenses
Contact Us to Speak to a Los Angeles Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
100% of distracted driving accidents are preventable. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a distracted driving accident, you need someone who can fight for you. At The Wallace Firm, our experienced distracted driving accident lawyers have successfully helped many accident victims and are ready to fight for your best interests. Let us do the hard work for you so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today for help with your claim.