Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

Distracted Driving & Traffic Lights

Does sing your cell phone at a traffic light violates California's Distracted Driving Law?

California has some of the strictest distracted driving laws in the country. And for good reason—20 percent of all injury-causing car accidents involved distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Moreover, a driver who is using a hand-held device is four times as likely to get into a serious-injury car accident, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Following a recent decision by a California Court of Appeal, the law just got a little tougher. The court ruled that use of a hand-held device while stopped at a red light is still a violation of California’s distracted driving laws.

Under California’s distracted driving law, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”

In People v. Nelson, Defendant Carl Nelson attempted to appeal a traffic citation under California’s distracted driving law by arguing that he was not “driving” when he used his cell phone because he was stopped at a red light when the officer observed him placing his cell phone to his ear. The court disagreed.

The court found that Nelson was still “driving” while stopped momentarily at a traffic light for the proposes of the state’s distracted driving law. As described by the court, “defendant used his wireless telephone with his hands while driving on a public roadway at a time at which he paused momentarily at a red light.”

If you were injured by a distracted driver, contact our San Diego personal injury lawyer.