If Assembly Bill 47 becomes law, motorists in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, caught texting or holding a cell phone while driving could end up with a point on their driving record, in addition to a ticket.
The inclusion of points on a driving record is quite serious since it can significantly impact your ability to obtain automobile insurance or even operate a motor vehicle in the state. For example, motorists who accumulate four or more points in a 12-month period, six or more points in a 24-month period, or eight or more points in a 36-month period are considered “negligent drivers” by the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are deemed a “negligent driver”, then the DMV is empowered to refuse to issue or renew your driver’s license. In addition, car insurers can change a driver’s rate based on the number of points on their driving record.
There is already a law on the books in California which states that a motorist can only use a cell phone if that device is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking. In addition, the current law states that drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a handheld cell phone, even if it is equipped with hands-free technology, according to CBS 13 News.
Why Harsher Penalties by California Lawmakers
A big reason why lawmakers are focused on enhancing the punishments associated with texting and driving is because of the numerous studies showing significant safety risks, including a much higher likelihood of being involved in a collision, when a motorist is texting while driving.
According to AAA, texting while driving increases the odds of a collision by two to eight times. Even simply talking on a hands-free cell phone while driving increases the odds of an accident by 4 times.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, more than 56 percent of California motorists responded to a survey that they were hit, or nearly hit, by a driver who was talking or texting on a cell phone. In addition, the survey indicated that 40 percent of California drivers admitted to making a mistake on the road while talking on a cell phone.
In 2017, there were more than 243,000 distracted driving offenses in California that related to the use of a cellular device. During that same year, there were more than 930 automobile collisions reportedly caused by a distracted driver and 31 of those accidents resulted in a loss of life.
Furthermore, public data indicates that approximately 10 percent of all fatal car crashes are caused by distracted drivers.
Status of the Proposed Law
As of the date this article is published, the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed Assembly Bill 47. If it is signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, it would go into effect July 1, 2021.
If You or a Loved One is Seriously Injured by a Distracted Driver, Contact Ramtin Sadighim, an Effective and Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a distracted driver on a Los Angeles road or highway, it is crucial that you secure the services of top-notch Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney who will fight to pursue the financial restitution you are owed.
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