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The Dangers of Distracted Driving in California

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Everyone always talks about how horrible drunk driving is but far less is mentioned about the dangers and repercussions of distracted driving, which is as dangerous and even more common than drunk driving.

Distracted driving in California isn’t a new thing. For as long as people have been getting behind the wheel of automobiles, there have been distracted drivers. Examples of distracted driving include:

✽ Daydreaming
✽ Arguing with passengers
✽ Rubbernecking
✽ Trying to pick up a candy bar you’ve dropped
✽ Changing radio stations
✽ Using your cell phone

Distracted driving can result in a number of things going wrong. A single second of distracted driving can result in:

✽ Weaving in and out of your lane
✽ Striking another car/pedestrian
✽ Missing a road sign
✽ Running a red light
✽ Etc.

Over the past twenty years or so, distracted driving has become a much bigger problem. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association indicates that distracted driving results in approximately 1,000 injuries every single day and approximately 9 deaths a day. Many of these distracted driving accidents involved a cell phone.

In California, when someone is pulled over for distracted driving and issued a citation, the ticket usually doesn’t say distracted driving, even though that’s usually the cause of the incident. The ticket usually states the effect. For example, if you were playing with your dog who was in the shotgun seat and run a red light, the ticket will likely state reckless driving or failure to yield rather than distracted driving.

If your distracted driving results in an injury or death to another person, the citation may be the least of your worries. When someone is hurt or killed as a result of a distracted driving episode, you could find yourself acting as the defendant in a civil case.

In an effort to lower the number of distracted driving incidents in California, the state has introduced the Just Drive campaign. The idea of the Just Drive campaign is to educate/remind drivers about the dangers of using a cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. Everybody involved in the campaign hopes that the program will remind drivers about how deadly answering a single text or taking a long call can be.

California’s “Just Drive” campaign is quite similar to earlier efforts to reduce the number of drivers who use their cell phones while they’re behind the wheel, but this campaign is geared specifically towards younger drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 24.

In California, you’re not allowed to have your cell phone in your hand while you’re driving. While everyone would prefer it if you simply didn’t use your cell phone at all during your commute, you are allowed to use it provided it’s set to hands-free mode, mounted on your dash or windshield, and can be turned on and off by a single finger touch.

The best way to avoid being the cause of a distracted driving incident is to keep your eyes and mind on the road.

5 Commonly Ignored Driving Laws

5 Commonly Ignored Driving Laws

Anyone who has ever driven knows that there are a lot of laws to follow while on the road. With so many different things to pay attention to, it can be hard to follow all of the rules 100% of the time. This is especially true when people witness others breaking certain laws and figure if those people can do it, so can they.

There are dozens of different driving laws that people break every single day. Some of the most common ones include the following:

Speeding over the Limit

This one is obvious. People speed just about everywhere you go, but especially in California. In fact, it is not uncommon to come across sections of highway where the posted limit is 55 mph and yet every driver on the road is doing a minimum of 70 mph. Regardless, driving over the posted speed limit is illegal no matter how many other drivers do it.

Stopping at Stop Signs

Some drivers see stop signs and somehow read them as “slow down a little” instead of “stop.” This in turn leads to numerous accidents. In addition to that, it can lead to a ticket for the driver. Failing to stop at a stop sign is an infraction level offense that comes with a small fine and a point on a driver’s record.

Seatbelts Are Required

For a lot of people, buckling up when they get into a car is automatic. However, some people struggle with the idea of buckling up every single time they are in a vehicle. Being in a moving vehicle without a seatbelt is not only dangerous, but also illegal. This can earn a driver another infraction, and if they are driving a vehicle with someone under the age of 16 unbuckled in the car, they can face a separate citation for that as well.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous

Everyone is aware that driving while distracted by just about anything, but mainly smart phones, can be incredibly dangerous. Some studies have even found that is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated or drunk. This is likely due to the fact that at least the drunk driver is trying to focus on the road, while the distracted driver is more concerned with sending a text, applying makeup, or eating. Despite this, and the fact that distracted driving is illegal, people do this every day. If a person doesn’t wind up in an accident, they could face a ticket with some small fines.

Hit and Run

Whenever people mess up, they are afraid of the consequences. After all, nobody likes getting into trouble. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and a person is in an accident. The worst thing they can do is leave the scene of the crime. If they do this, it no longer matters if they were responsible for the accident. They left the scene and could have even left someone injured and dying. That is horrible, which is why it is illegal for a driver to leave the scene of an accident that they were involved in without first administering any needed aid or leaving contact information. The consequences for doing so can vary depending on the severity of the accident.

Keep These Laws in Mind While Driving

There are all sorts of laws that California drivers seem to forget about. Drivers need to remember these rules, not only to avoid an expensive ticket, since even the small fines are often a few hundred dollars, but to avoid ending up in a serious accident. Many of these laws were enacted to help keep people safe while driving. Failing to follow several of these could easily cost a person their life. Nobody wants that.

Are there any other California laws that you see drivers forgetting on a regular basis that are missing from this list?

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