Distracted driving has always been problem, but in recent years, with the rise of cell phones and other handheld devices, it’s gotten worse. It’s gotten so bad that the state of California has passed laws that prohibit texting and using a handheld cellphone while driving. Distracted driver accidents in Manhattan Beach and other California communities often result in serious property damage, personal injury and even death.
Accidents Can Happen in a Split Second
Distracted driving happens when a driver engages in an activity while driving that diverts their attention from the road. Distracted driving is dangerous because it takes a driver’s attention from what’s going on around them on the roads. An accident can happen in a split second. That few seconds a driver’s attention is diverted from the wheel to check their phone or reach under the seat for a bottle of water could result in an accident that can have life-changing consequences.
Some of the activities that can cause distracted driving accidents include:
- Dialing or using a handheld smartphone
- Eating or drinking
- Reaching for fallen objects
- Talking to passengers
- Attending to children or pets in the car
- Personal grooming
- Programming GPS or navigation system
- Adjusting a radio or MP3 player
Data Shows the Dangers of Distracted Driving
In 2016, more than 54% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting on cell phone. That same year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were 3,450 driver distraction-related deaths in the U.S.; and in 2015, an estimated 391,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving.
Five seconds is the average time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting. At 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field. Reaching for a phone, dialing, texting and engaging in other visual-manual subtasks, increases the risk of an accident by three times.
California’s Distracted Driver Laws
In 2009, California became one of the first states to pass laws that prohibit a person from driving a motor vehicle while using a handheld wireless telephone. The law was updated in 2017 to include more restrictions. Section 23123.5 of the California Vehicle Code states that “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.” Violations are punishable by a base fine if $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.
Distracted drivers may face additional charges under California Vehicle Code 23103, which states that “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Fines for a conviction under 23103 include fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to 90 days.
Injured in a Distracted Driver Accident in Manhattan Beach?
If you have been injured as a result of a distracted driver accident in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Hermosa Beach or other South Bay communities, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. The Manhattan Beach car accident attorneys at Dinsmore & Sandelmann have been successfully representing clients injured in distracted driving accidents and other personal injury claims for more than 25 years.
Call us at (310) 318-1220 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Manhattan Beach distracted driver accident attorneys. Our personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front expenses for our clients and we only get paid when we win your case.