What Qualifies as Distracted Driving in California?

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Engaging in distracted driving is dangerous. Statistically speaking, driving while distracted makes it 3x more likely that you will be involved in a car accident.

What Qualifies as Distracted Driving in California?

According to California law, anything that takes the driver's eyes or mind off the road or the driver's hands off the steering wheel qualifies as distracted driving. Many distracted driving incidents involve cell phones, so California state laws aim to reduce the number of accidents caused by distracted driving by specifically focusing on decreasing the distractions from cell phones on the road.

California's Distracted Driving Laws:

The dangers of distracted driving are real, and California lawmakers put laws in place to address the issue. State law prohibits drivers from reading, sending, or receiving texts or other communications or using handheld cell phones (or other devices). Under California law, drivers under 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving - even hands-free. Additionally, school bus operators and transit bus drivers are prohibited from using phones while driving.

Do Distracted Driving Laws Apply to Other Activities Done While Driving?

While cell phones account for a vast majority of problematic distracted driving scenarios on the road in 2022, the law isn't limited to preventing distractions caused by phones. Essentially, any activity can be a distraction while driving. For example, eating a taco while driving can be a distraction if it takes your attention away from driving and creates a possible danger. If a police officer sees a California driver eating a taco while driving and the officer believes the driver is distracted by eating, they can pull the driver over. Whether or not the officer pulls the driver over depends on the officer and how the driver is driving. Erratic driving will greatly increase the chances of being pulled over.

What Happens When a California Driver is Pulled Over for Distracted Driving?

If an officer pulls over a California driver for distracted driving (regardless of the activity that was providing the "distraction"), the driver may be cited for "reckless driving" or "driving too fast for conditions."

Distracted Driving, Car Accidents, and Personal Injury Claims in California:

California has a problem with distracted drivers on the road. It is one of the contributing factors to the high number of California car accidents. Considering these facts, you can expect distracted driving to be an issue when you are in a California car accident. So when someone is injured, there will be interest regarding what was happening in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Was the responsible party distracted? Did distracted driving contribute to the damages? Did distracted driving slow the other party's response and entirely negate their ability to avoid the accident? The answers to these questions could contribute when determining liability.

If you've been involved in a California car accident and need help determining liability due to distracted driving, get in touch with Moss Bollinger, Sherman Oaks, California personal injury attorney. He's dedicated to protecting and asserting the rights of his clients. Call 866-942-7974 today for a free consultation or contact us online.

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