Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
Helping Victims of Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Los Angeles and San Bernardino
Nothing could be simpler than the requirement to pay attention to the road while you are behind the wheel of a 3,000-pound machine navigating stop-and-go traffic in the city or barreling down the highway at 65 mph. Yet too many people can’t seem to resist the allure of their phones and the desire to read or respond to a text, check for social media updates, or watch the latest video sent by a friend. Despite how urgent they may seem at the time, all of these things can wait. The consequences of not waiting are just too dire.
Somewhere around 3,500 people lose their lives to car accidents in California every year, and it’s thought that as many as 20% of those crashes are caused by distracted driving. The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. is committed to helping accident victims in Los Angeles and San Bernardino get the medical care and compensation they need after getting hurt in a crash caused by negligent driving. Distracted driving is negligent driving, and it is a leading danger on our roads today. If you were hit by a distracted driver or lost a loved one to a distracted driving car accident in Southern California, The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. is here for you. Call now to schedule a consultation or for immediate assistance with your car accident claim.
What Is Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as any activity that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Today, distracted driving is most often thought of in terms of smartphones and cell phones – texting while driving, talking while holding the phone, watching videos, programming a playlist, accessing apps, checking Facebook or Twitter, or programming the GPS. Distracted driving existed before smartphone apps and social media, however, in the form of eating while driving, putting on makeup, shaving or dressing, reading, daydreaming and getting involved in conversations with passengers. All of these forms of distracted driving are still with us today, along with the ever-present demands for our attention from smartphones and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
Safety researchers put distracted driving into three different groups – visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions take your mind off the task of driving. Texting while driving is so dangerous because it involves all three kinds of distractions, increasing the odds you’ll not look up in time to avoid a crash and have control over the car as you should. Even after you put down the phone, researchers say it takes many seconds or even minutes before your attention fully returns to driving.
California Texting While Driving Laws
Current California law says that one “shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device” unless it is configured for voice operation and hands-free use and is used in that manner while driving. It is permissible to talk on the phone and otherwise use the phone so long as this is done hands-free through voice operations (although this is still cognitively distracting as noted above). Also, California law allows one to use their phone by hand so long as both the following conditions apply:
- The phone is mounted on the windshield in a manner allowed by law for GPS devices or mounted to the dashboard or center console in a way that doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view of the road; and
- The driver’s hand is only used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the phone with a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
Violating the hands-free law is not a crime; rather it is an “infraction” punishable by a $20 fine. After various court charges, the total cost is about $121, but that still makes this infraction about the cheapest violation in the Vehicle Code.
Why is this important? There is a principle in the law known as negligence per se. If a person violates a law that is specifically designed to prevent harm, and they cause harm by their violation, then they are presumed to be negligent under the law, without the injury victim having to produce other evidence of the person’s negligence. The hands-free law was designed to prevent car accidents, so someone who caused a crash by texting while driving can be considered negligent per se. This rule is especially helpful in holding drivers liable for certain kinds of crashes. In a rear-end collision, the rear driver is nearly always liable, but in accidents involving turns or lane changes, it can be more complicated to prove who was negligent and who was driving safely. Evidence that a driver was texting or holding their phone is evidence they were the one who negligently caused the crash.
Our Firm Is Here to Help You After a Car Accident With a Distracted Driver in Los Angeles
If you were hit by a distracted driver in Los Angeles or San Bernardino County, The Law Firm of Oscar A. Ischiu, Esq. will build a solid case that proves the driver’s negligence and responsibility for the harm they’ve done to you. Give us a call right away so we can start working on your case today and make sure you are properly treated and taken care of.