Law enforcement fighting distracted driving in California
We have all seen ad campaigns that talk about what can happen if a person is not paying attention while they are driving. Many of these commercials feature family members who have lost a loved one due to an accident involving a distracted driver. The ads are designed to educate motorists on how important it is to stay alert at all times, because even a minimal distraction can have extremely serious consequences.
However, it appears some California motorists are not getting the message. According to a recent observational survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety, 7.4 percent of motorists were using a cellphone while driving.
With so many distracted drivers still on the state roadways, there is still a substantial risk of being involved in a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were over 17,000 car accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2012. These crashes led to 139 fatalities and over 10,000 injuries. This may be underreporting the number of accidents, as some drivers may not admit to using cellphones. Police may also fail to record this information in the police report, as it is not mandatory on some accident forms.
Officials are concerned about the apparent reluctance of motorists to obey the state’s distracted driving laws. California prohibits the use of handheld cellphones, and imposes substantial penalties on those drivers caught using the devices. These laws are very difficult for police to enforce, as it is tough to catch drivers in the act.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has received a grant to assist them in the fight against distracted driving. The CHP will be conducting several patrols in problem areas designed to catch drivers who may be texting or talking on a handheld cellphone while driving. The agency also will host a course that informs motorists about the dangers of being distracted while behind the wheel.
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can provide you with an opportunity to learn about the potential compensation that you may be able to recover, and help you consider what options will be best for you.
Once you have received treatment for your injuries, you may start to see your medical expenses starting to accumulate. You may need money to pay your bills, and if you are out of work due to accident, it can be hard to make ends meet. Do not simply accept an offer from the insurance companies until you know the extent of your damages.