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Distracted Driving in California

When people hear the term “distracted driving,” they think of cell phone use and texting. The term encompasses anything taking your attention away from driving. Applying makeup, eating, and changing music on your iPhone are all distracted driving. In California, cell phone use and electronic device use are illegal and can result in heavy fines. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, the San Jose car accident lawyers at Henshaw & Henry, PC can help. Call us immediately to begin a free consultation.

California Distracted Driving Laws

California law prohibits the use of cell phones and texting during driving. This includes talking while holding the phone to your ear or in your hand. Adults can use cell phones hands-free, with speaker phone or Bluetooth. For drivers under the age of 18, it is against the law to use any electronic devices, including hands-free, speaker phone, and Bluetooth devices.

Other distractions, such as applying makeup and eating are not illegal, but if they cause dangerous actions such as swerving or leaving your lane, you could get a ticket for reckless driving. Distraction of only one or two seconds for any reason can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities. When you get into your vehicle, turn off your cell phone and only pay attention to the road. You do not want to be the cause of someone’s death or injury.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Drivers who text while driving 55 mph take their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At that speed, a vehicle will cover the distance of a football field, all while the driver does not have his or her eyes on the road. In a 2016 survey, 54% of Californians state that a driver talking on the phone had hit or nearly hit them. In 2015, distracted drivers killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000. Teenage drivers are the biggest group at risk for distracted driving accidents.

How to Prove Distracted Driving in a Crash

Distracted driving is a common reason for accidents. If you were in an accident you believe a distracted driver caused, contact us for guidance. There are a few ways to prove the other driver may have been distracted. None of these will guarantee a win in your case against the other driver, but they will help your case in trial or settlement.

Police Report or Testimony

Officers on the scene can sometimes assess accident causes and may find the driver at fault was distracted. If you or another witness saw the distracted driver talking or texting before the crash, the police report should include this information. During court proceedings, the officer will testify to the statement’s accuracy.

Driver Admission

Some drivers will come clean during the adrenaline rush after an accident and announce they were texting. This will not guarantee fault of the other driver, but it can support the overall case.

Cell Phone Records

You can use cell phone and texting records to prove a driver was using the phone at the time of the accident. The courts can subpoena phone records and prove the driver was distracted.

Videos or Photos

Cell phone videos or photos taken by drivers, passengers, or other witnesses can catch distracted drivers. A strong personal injury lawyer will know where to find this evidence if it does exist.

Hire a Trustworthy Lawyer

If you have been involved or hurt in a car accident, and you suspect the other driver was distracted, contact us immediately. Distracted driving cases are common, and our firm has represented thousands of clients with success. Our personal injury lawyers in San Jose are highly skilled at finding witnesses, surveillance footage, and obtaining expert testimony in cases where such proof exists. We will meet with you for an initial consultation and guide you through the litigation process, upholding your rights every step of the process.