According to Fox 40, on March 29, 2013, the driver of a semi-truck was eating a sandwich while driving toward Sacramento on I-80. The driver choked on some food, lost consciousness, and the truck began veering. First it ran onto the shoulder, then crossed traffic hitting two cars, crossed the center meridian and crashed head-on into a BMW. This caused an explosion that killed the two people inside the BMW. The truck also caught fire and the driver had burn injuries.
This tragic accident was one of many distracted driving crashes that occur each year in California and throughout the U.S. As our Costa Mesa injury attorneys know, distracted driving can often have fatal consequences. To prevent these types of tragic deaths, April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Focus on Distracted Driving During Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Distracted Driving Awareness month combines both educational outreach as well as tougher law enforcement. As the Daily Pilot reports, police throughout Costa Mesa police will be on the lookout for drivers who are using cell phones while driving. A ticket for a first offense of distracted driving can cost $159 and subsequent tickets can cost $279 and police will be focused on finding and ticketed more drivers who are breaking the law.
The extra focus by police is part of a month-long effort called "It's Not Worth It!" which will hopefully draw attention and bring awareness to the problem of distracted driving. As the Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson said: "This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving" His hope is that when people are made aware of the dangers, they'll make changes in their driving habits to protect their families and others who share the road.
Current Laws and Upcoming Legislation
California takes distracted driving seriously and they have tough laws in place all the time, which will simply be enforced with more emphasis during distracted driving month.
There are four prohibitions in California associated with distracted driving including:
- A ban on all handheld devices for all drivers
- A ban on texting for all drivers
- A ban on cell phones for transit and school bus drivers
- A ban on all cell phone use for novice drivers
The California legislature will also be considering strengthening the distracted driving laws in 2013 and 2014. For example, lawmakers are considering Assembly Bill 313, which would extend the law prohibiting texting to include voice-operated and hands-free operation of any wireless communications device. Senate Bill 194, also under consideration, would add the use of any electronic communications device to the current law prohibiting cell phone use for those under the age of 18 with no exemption for hands-free devices.
These laws could help improve public safety and make the roads in California just a little bit less dangerous for all drivers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.