Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer

What you should know about California's new distracted driving law

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If you've been in an accident where you were hurt because of someone else's mistake or negligence, one of the first things you want to understand is why. In many cases the reason has something to do with someone being distracted while they were driving. One of the most common distractions these days is talking a cell phone. Legislators in the state of California recognize how dangerous is can be to use a phone while driving and passed Assembly Bill 1785 in 2016. Under that bill, which went into effect January 1, 2017, using hand held cell phones without a "hands-free" component is against the law.

What Does the Cell Phone Ban Cover?

The new law, which goes beyond the previously existing texting prohibition, does not mean phones have to be tucked away inside purses and briefcases or turned off while drivers are on the road. Instead, if they are being used, the law states that they should be mounted to the windshield or dashboard, and connected to hands-free headphones and be set up for voice activated commands.

Fines for breaking the law are relatively low-just $20 for a first offense, and $50 for a second offense. If your use of a phone while driving caused someone to get hurt however, the cost of a personal injury is much higher. This is a real issue in California as in 2015 distracted driving caused 500 injuries and 12 fatalities causes by distracted driving. In addition, that same year 700 distracted driver crashes caused property damage.

If distracted driving was to blame for your injuries

If you've been in an accident, it is a good idea to take note of as much information about the accident as you can. Did you notice a cell phone being used? Were you in or near a school zone? Exchange information with others involved in the accident, see that witness can be contacted, file a police report, and have a medical professional check you out for potential injuries. A qualified personal injury attorney can also help you have the best chance at getting the settlement you need to cover your injuries and related expenses.

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