The laws in place in California and throughout the United States are always subject to change, and state legislators recently passed new driving laws affecting all California drivers in 2020. If you have a California driver’s license, it is essential to understand the recent legal changes that have taken effect over the last year to avoid potential fines and other legal issues in the future. If you have experienced a distracted driving accident recently, an experienced car accident attorney is your best resource for interpreting the state’s new and pending laws for distracted driving in California.
AB 47 to Take Effect July 2021
California state lawmakers recently passed AB 47 and expect to implement this new law beginning July 1, 2021. AB 47 is a new legal measure enacted to curb the number of distracted driving accidents in the state. Each year, thousands of people suffer serious injuries and die from distracted driving accidents. The new law upholds additional penalties for drivers who violate the state’s hands-free cell phone use laws.
For several years, it has been illegal to use a cell phone behind the wheel without the use of a hands-free attachment in California. However, many drivers continue to cause accidents due to willing violation of this law. AB 47 aims to discourage further violations and curb the number of distracted driving accidents in California. Once AB 47 takes effect, drivers who violate the state’s hands-free phone law while driving will incur a fine and a point on their driver’s license lasting at least 36 months.
Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Operating any motor vehicle requires careful use of practically the entire body. Muscle memory plays a large part in driving. Eventually, every new driver eventually feels comfortable behind the wheel, and driving begins to feel like second nature. Unfortunately, this can easily lead to complacency and drivers failing to pay adequate attention to the road while they drive.
Cell phone use, in particular, is especially dangerous due to the fact that it combines several types of distractions into a single dangerous action. Using a cell phone behind the wheel first and foremost requires the driver’s attention when they should be focused on the road. The driver must also use at least one hand that should be applied to vehicle controls, not the phone. Operating the phone or reading a message also requires the driver’s visual focus when they should be looking at the road ahead and paying attention to their surroundings.
Looking at a phone for even a few seconds while driving at any speed can be incredibly dangerous. Modern vehicles can easily travel hundreds of feet in just a few seconds, so glancing at a cell phone to read or type a text message can easily equate to driving blind for a significant distance.
Taking Legal Action for Distracted Driving Accidents
Whenever a driver causes an accident due to negligence or failure to use their vehicle correctly, that driver is liable for any and all damages resulting from the situation. If a driver uses their cell phone behind the wheel in violation of California state law, they will not only absorb liability for the resulting damages but also criminal penalties for their violation of state law. Once AB 47 takes effect in July of 2021, these legal penalties will increase. Injured victims of distracted drivers can explore many different options for recovering from their losses, including personal injury claims against those responsible for their damages.
Filing a personal injury claim for distracted driving can be the best option for an injured driver who is unable to secure a full recovery through an insurance claim. An experienced distracted driving accident attorney can help their client draft their initial demand for coverage and assist them in dealing with an insurance company. However, if the claim payout does not cover the full scope of the client’s damages, further action through a personal injury claim is typically the best option.
Proving Distracted Driving
One of the most challenging aspects of any motor vehicle accident claim in California is proving liability for the accident. In a distracted driving claim, the injured driver’s attorney will likely seek the defendant’s phone records and vehicle computer data from the defendant’s vehicle. They may also subpoena traffic camera footage, if available. This evidence can help prove the defendant in the claim was illegally using their cell phone at the time of the crash.
It may seem difficult to prove distracted driving, but an experienced attorney will know exactly where to look to find the evidence you need to make your case. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries due to distracted driving, the Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC is ready to assist in your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your distracted driving claim with our team.