New Cell Phone Law Bans Drivers from Taking Selfies and Facebook Scrolling
California recently expanded its distracted driving laws to include activities such as taking selfies and surfing the internet. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017, and aims to reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Old Law vs. New Law
The existing law in California prohibits drivers from using cell phones to write, send, or read texts or emails unless the wireless device can be operated by voice, hands-free. By comparison, the new law prohibits a wider range of behavior. The new law says that a driver is also prohibited from “holding and operating” a wireless device.
Reason for the New Law
The law is being updated to reflect the changing ways people use cell phones and the increasing usage of tablets. California has had limitations on cell phone use behind the wheel since 2006, but the capabilities of cellphones and other mobile devices have continued to change since then.
Surfing the web while driving is increasingly common. From 2009 to 2014, the percentage of drivers who said they used the internet while driving nearly doubled. In 2009, 13% of drivers said they did so. In 2014, 24% of drivers reported they surfed the web while on the road. Younger drivers -- those aged 18-29 -- reported they surfed the web while driving at higher rates: 29% of them reported the behavior in 2009, and 49% of them said they did in 2014.
Other Details in the New Law
The new law does allow smart phone use in limited ways. A driver can use his or her smartphone if:
- The device is mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console of the car, and
- Use is limited to a single swipe or tap used to activate or deactivate a function on the device.
- The law provides for fines in the amount of $20 for the first offense and $50 for offenses thereafter.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Being hurt in an accident that was caused by a driver on a cell phone can leave you with numerous injuries. If a driver hits you while he or she is using a cell phone, the distraction may be presented as evidence of his or her fault in the accident.
A skilled personal injury attorney will bring the knowledge of the law to get you the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact an experienced San Jose car accident lawyer at Janoff Law to discuss your case. Call 408-286-2300 to schedule your free initial consultation today.