aND BRANDpoint — Distracted driving is one of the biggest contributing factors to auto accidents. In most states, texting or talking while behind the wheel is illegal, although bad behaviors are sometimes hard to legislate. Statistics show that more than 11,000 passengers and drivers are killed annually just in California, due to distracting driving behaviors.
The worst part is that distracted driving is on the rise, even with legislation in place to prevent it.
According to a study by the Office of Traffic Safety, as many as 13 percent of California drivers have been caught texting, talking or otherwise using their cell phone while on the road. That’s up from nine percent in 2015.
The fact is that anytime you take your eyes off the road, you are endangering yourself and those around you. It takes less than five seconds for you to read the average text message. If you are driving at 65 mph, that means you aren’t watching the road for more than 100 yards — the full length of a professional football field. The research shows that on average, most car collisions take less than two seconds to happen. If you are in an accident due to distracted driving, it is important to get the help of San Francisco personal injury attorneys to ensure that you recover for your injuries.
Most people use Bluetooth technology or hands-free equipment to cut down on distracted driving. Using a speakerphone, however, doesn’t always reduce the risk for accidents to occur. If you use earbuds or a communication system in your car, it isn’t any safer than talking on your phone directly. Although drivers have their eyes on the road, their mind isn’t where it should be. Drivers aren’t able to multitask when behind the wheel — if you’ve heard otherwise, that is simply a myth. There is absolutely no way for you to text or make a call while driving that doesn’t pose a risk for you and those around you.
In California, it has been illegal to use a phone unless it has Bluetooth or hands-free since 2011. Drivers who are younger than 18 are not allowed to drive while using a cellphone, even if it is hands-free. The only exception is if it is an emergency, but it’s likely you would pull over if there was an emergency situation to tend to.
It is also against the law to text while you are behind the wheel. This includes sending, reading, or writing text messages to anyone while you are driving, unless the phone is equipped with voice command and hands-free technology. The statute was in place well before phone apps became so popular.
So technically it is still legal to go through your playlist, search for nearby restaurants, update your Facebook status or send out a tweet while you are behind the wheel. It is even legal for you to use your GPS and navigation while driving, thanks to a ruling in People v Spriggs.
It is still illegal to operate a vehicle while you are holding a cellphone. A driver must have both hands on the wheel. The only way that you can use a cell phone while you are driving is if you use a hands-free mount that is mounted on the windshield similar to GPS devices, or if it is in the center console. Also, you are only allowed to use navigation systems when you can use voice commands instead of touch screen. If you have to put your fingers on the device, then it is no longer allowed behind the wheel.
Although there are laws about cell phone use, the truth is that there are ways to circumvent most of them if you want to. It is very hard to prove that someone was using their device in an auto accident, but the proof is that distracted driving of any kind is dangerous. If you do it, you are endangering everyone around you. A text message is never as important as your life, which is why it is important to have both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel to ensure your safety and that of your passengers safety.