The number of auto accidents in the San Fernanda Valley that are caused by distracted driving has jumped in recent years, fueled primarily from an increase of drivers who attempt to text or use their cell phones while operating their vehicles. Distracted driving results in hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of fatalities each year – many of which are the result of younger drivers using cell phones. If you or a loved one were injured by a distracted driver, whether in an auto accident, pedestrian accident, or bike accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
CA Vehicle Codes and Texting and Driving
California has a number of laws that address cell phone use and texting while driving. One such law prevents drivers from using handheld cell phones, another which prevents drivers under 18 from using any form of cell phone in the car (even if it is “hands free”), and another law which bans texting while driving.
Under California Vehicle Code 23123, “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.” California courts have ruled that this law applies not only to the act of making phone calls, but to any use of the phone that can cause distractions from driving such as using GPS services or map locations while on the road. However, the specific text of the law does make exceptions when the driver is either driving on private property or using the phone for emergency purposes such as calling 9-1-1, police, hospitals or other emergency services during an actual, active emergency.
California Vehicle Code 23124 states that a person “under the age of 18 years…shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device…” (Emphasis added.) Studies have shown that relatively young or new drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents to begin with, so any form of phone use is likely to exacerbate the risks. Therefore, the law prevents them from any form of cell phone use while driving – unless it is for legitimate emergency purposes.
California Vehicle Code 23123.5 bans all drivers from any form of texting, instant messaging, emailing or similar text-based communications while driving unless their device is “specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.”
California also has special laws preventing drivers of school buses or public transit vehicles from using cell phones or wireless communication devices outside of specific work-related or emergency purposes.
Texting and driving is against the law in California for teenagers, adults, and city-run vehicles. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in the San Fernando Valley because another driver was texting and driving or otherwise driving negligently, the law is on your side. Contact experienced auto accident attorney Barry P. Goldberg today to discuss your legal rights and ability to recover financially for your losses.