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.”
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
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.