Distracted Driving in California

According to a 2021 study from the California Office of Traffic Safety, nearly three in four state residents identify distracted driving as their primary concern on the roadways. Distracted driving is typically defined as anything that takes the eyes, mind or hands away from driving-related tasks. Some of the most common forms of distracted driving include texting and talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers may also be distracted by taking pictures or browsing social media.

More on distracted driving

During 2019, nearly 3150 people died from distracted driving, accounting for over 8.5% of the U.S. traffic deaths. Among teens, mobile devices are attributed to six out of ten crashes. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among 16 to 19-year-olds.

People who use their mobile devices while driving are three times more likely to get into a crash. At highway speeds, a car can travel half over 50 yards while the driver texts for 5 seconds.

Distracted driving in California

Distracted driving is not only dangerous, it is illegal in many states. In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a mobile device in-hand. Only hands-free options like speakerphone or voice commands are permitted.

Drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using a cellphone while behind the wheel under any circumstances. Other distractions like grooming, eating, reaching for far away objects or changing clothes are also enough to cause auto accidents.

Even without an accident, distracted driving is enough to warrant tickets for “speed unsafe for conditions” or “reckless driving”. Every state has some sort of legislation to penalize distracted driving. Nearly half the states in the U.S. have banned handheld devices while driving. More than 20 states have banned cell phone use by bus drivers and over 35 have banned cell phone use for novice drivers.

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