Mild Penalties not Effective in Reducing Distracted Driving
Mild Penalties not Effective in Reducing Distracted Driving

Despite efforts in recent years to discourage distracted driving, a study shows the percentage of California drivers using their cell phones behind the wheel has actually gone up from previous years.

In an observational study, the California Office of Traffic Safety and the University of California, Berkeley noted that nearly 10% of motorists used their cell phones while driving. The study was conducted in several cities across the state, and observations were made mainly at stop signs, stoplights and highway onramps.

Distracted driving was up 9.4% from 2014 in Riverside County, based off the 200 drivers observed. This falls just behind Sonoma County, which was up 12.7% from last year.

The increase might seem surprising, considering California’s hands-free device law took effect in 2008 and education about distracted driving has since increased.

Former state senator Joe Simitian, who campaigned against distracted driving and sponsored the no hands device law during his time in office, says the results do not surprise him. After all, the current penalty for distracted driving is a base fine of $20, which equates to about $160 after additional fees. Compared to other driving infractions, such as allowing someone to ride in the trunk of a car—which carries a $100 base fine, making it a $500 burden when local fines are applied—the penalty for driving distracted is still very mild. Distracted driving also does not affect a person’s driving record.

Unfortunately, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime, when according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of vehicle crashes can be linked to driver inattention and 3,000 people were killed last year in the U.S. because of distracted driving incidents.

“There needs to be a shift in our mindset on distracted driving,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group. “There are too many of these incidents and not enough people taking the issue seriously. When you’re behind the wheel, you need to be focused on the road, period.”

Our firm has been handling personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been injured in an accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.


DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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