Distracted driving laws in California were passed to address the increase in accidents caused by this unsafe driving habit. If you suffer property damage or personal injury caused by a distracted driver, contact a California accident attorney.

Increased distracted driving.

In April 2019 the California Highway Patrol issued 19,850 citations for violation of the California’s “handsfree” cell phone law, representing a 3.6% increase from one year ago.  The goal of the handsfree law is to provide increased safety to all drivers on California roadways.  Cell phones are not the only distraction to drivers.  Other distractions include eating, grooming, tending to small children, reaching for objects, tampering with automobile touchscreens, and any other task that involves a reduction of attention to the act of safe driving.

Cell phone use detrimental to driver safety.

According to a University of California Berkeley public opinion survey conducted in 2018, nearly 50% of all drivers surveyed listed “distracted driving” due to the use of a cell phone for talking or texting, as their biggest concern regarding roadway safety and dangers to themselves.  Self-discipline must be embraced when it comes to a decision to be a safe driver and pull over when a driver needs to use their cell phone for communication purposes.
Because California has had distracted driving laws since 2008, they can be supportive legal doctrine in a claim for damages when a driver’s use of a cell phone plays a major part in the accident.  Those laws discourage a driver to hold a wireless telephone or electronic communication device while operating a vehicle, and if the driver is under the age of 18, the use of even handsfree devices is not allowed.  Legal professionals are necessary to navigate through the many court actions involving automobile accidents and distracted driving.

Car Insurance and liability covers some portion of court-awarded damages.

California law requires that drivers have a way to cover costs related to damages or injuries caused in a car accident. Purchasing liability car insurance is the simplest and most common way people choose to meet this requirement.
The minimum amount of liability insurance drivers must carry is:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Comparative Negligence. 

Under California law, “everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person…” meaning that if a driver is responsible for any part of activities that led to injury, the compensation will be adjusted in accordance with a percentage of fault assigned to each driver.  If the accident was caused due to breaking distracted driving laws, the percentage of fault may be reflected in the compensation for the automobile accident case, including property and bodily injuries.

Hire an attorney.

Seek legal counsel immediately after accidents where a driver was ignoring the California “hands-free” cell phone laws. Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, who specialize in automobile accident laws in San Diego California may be able to offer some valuable information toward legal action.
Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation
501 West Broadway, Suite 1650
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-233-8021
Fax: 619-233-3730