California Cell Phone Law in Effect January 1, 2017
Effective January 1, 2017 a new California cell phone law will go into effect prohibiting drivers from holding and using their cellphones while driving. Previous California laws cited restrictions addressed talking and texting while driving. The new law broadens the scope of prohibited activities to include taking photographs, playing videos and checking maps. Drivers may only use devices via voice operated and hands free options. In addition, devices must be mounted to the vehicle windshield, and the only actions allowed are a single swipe or finger tap.
Fines for violation of the law start at $20 for the initial offense; $50 for each subsequent offense. There is an exemption in place extended to emergency service professionals who may require use of a cell phone in the course of their work driving an emergency vehicle. Personal injury lawyer Andrew Ellis supports this law, and believes it is great step towards increasing driver safety.
According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 million accidents on the road in 2016 were caused by drivers using cell phones or texting while driving. The bans have been enacted to reduce distractions and lessen the risk of accidents. It is estimated that some form of distracted driving is a factor in 80% of crashes. This can be particularly hazardous in heavily pedestrian areas as well. A recent study by the AAA foundation showed that teen drivers were distracted almost 25% of the time they were at the wheel.
As technology for smartphones changes and develops, legislators are hard pressed to keep up with these advances. Legal enforcement, where possible, can be part of the solution. Driver education is essential to reduce the number of catastrophic accidents caused by distracted driving.
If you or someone love has been injured as a result of a car accident, contact the experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Ellis Law. Call the number above to request a no-cost consultation; we are committed to providing skilled legal advocacy and protecting your best interests.