We have seen a lot of debate about the success of California’s controversial ban on the use of cell phones while driving. However, a new study by a state agency confirms that these particular laws have been accountable for decreasing the amount of accidents caused by the use of cellular phones.
According to the report from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of traffic accidents involving cell phone use while driving in California dropped by 32% after the laws were implemented. The report says that during the two years following the time when cell phone laws came to be, there were approximately 53 fatalities a result of drivers who had been using cellular phones while driving. In the two years before the law was implemented, greater than 100 fatalities were caused by drivers using cell phones while driving.
The research tracked the success of the cellular phone while driving ban. According to Sen. Joe Simitian, Democrat-Palo Alto, who authored the bill which made it an offense to drive an automobile or other motor vehicle while using a hand-held cellular phone, the state has made substantial progress in reducing the number of motorists who use cellular phones while driving.
Safety agencies such as the Governors Highway Safety Association have much praise for the way California has managed to implement its anti-distracted driving laws. A number of other states have similar laws against the usage of hand-held cell phones while driving. However, in those states, these laws have experienced a limited effect, primarily because of absence of aggressive enforcement.
In California, however, law-enforcement is aggressively enforcing these laws, which means that cell phone use while driving has dropped, although penalties for these particular offenses remain low. The penalty for driving with a hand-held cell phone is $20. This past year, there was an attempt to pass legislation that would increase the fines substantially for using a cellular phone while driving, violations. However, the proposal was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. California Car accident attorneys, and Motorcycle Accident Lawyers such as me have strongly supported any proposal to increase the fines for persons found using a hand-held cell phone while driving.
Progress against distracted driving is going to take years. Sen. Simitian compares California’s war against distracted driving with the war against drunk driving and also the campaign to get additional motorists to buckle up while driving. Progress in these initiatives did not come overnight. After aggressive enforcement, we’re able to see a decrease in cell phone use while driving.
Notwithstanding the State report showing a decrease in cell phone usage, I myself personally see people holding cell phones up to their ears while driving, in violation of the law, all of the time.
It upsets me because I know that these people are not only violating the law, but they are accidents waiting to happen.
It is my practice to subpoena all cell phone records of persons involved in a car, truck, or other motor vehicle accident when I am doing a case against them for one of my personal injury clients. The cops may not have caught you, but I will.