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Why Is Distracted Driving on the Rise in California?

As San Diego injury lawyers, we are concerned that distracted driving is on the rise in California. According a recent study, cell phone use behind the wheel increased dramatically over the past year.

The study, which was commissioned by the California Office of Traffic Safety and conducted by UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, revealed that 10 percent of all drivers in California are using their cell phones. The findings represent a 39-percent jump from 2014.

The study results are particularly concerning given that the state has some of the strictest cell phone laws in the country and has devoted significant resources to increasing public awareness regarding the dangers of distracted driving.

As a reminder, California law prohibits texting while driving, as well as the use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle unless the cell phone is being used in hands-free mode. Drivers under age 18 may not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device of any kind.

While violating the law results in a fine of $161 for first offenders, many argue that steeper penalties are required. They point to other states where violations result in demerit points that impact automobile insurance rates.

Unfortunately, the success of the law also relies on drivers appreciating the safety risks of distracted driving, which has proven to be a difficult task. To drive home the message, we would like to share the following distracted statistics:

  • Approximately 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention.
  • Up to 3,000 people nationwide are killed in crashes linked to distracted driving.
  • Talking on a cell phone or texting is the number one source of driver distractions.
  • Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, far enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. Most crashes happen with less than 2 seconds reaction time.
  • The act of talking on a cell phone, even hands free, can lead to “inattention blindness,” where your brain isn’t seeing what’s right in front of you.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego car accident involving a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.