California’s Texting While Driving Ban Has Been in Effect for Over a Decade. Is it Working?

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Currently, 48 states and Washington D.C. ban text messaging for all drivers to help decrease distracted driving collisions, which were responsible for claiming 2,841 lives across the country last year.

The State of California was an early adopter of legislation that banned texting while driving, which became law in 2009, and highly enforced at the start of 2010.

After a decade, are our distracted laws working?

Overall, throughout the U.S., distracted driving deaths fell by the largest percentage in ten years, dropping to 2,841 last year from 3,242 the previous year, an approximate 12% decrease.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, among those killed in distracted driving crashes last year were 730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists — confirming that no one is safe when a driver is operating their vehicle at less than full attention.

While the numbers are down, the problem persists.

Public Opinion Contradicts Driver Action

Last year, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study on distracted driving and noted that while most people agreed with the ban on handheld electronics, they still admitted to using them while driving.

According to the study:

  • 75% of drivers support laws against holding and talking on a cellphone, yet over half admitted to driving while talking on a handheld device in the past 30 days
  • 88% of drivers support laws against typing, reading, or sending a text/email while driving, yet 41.3% admit to reading and 32.1% admit to typing while driving in the past month

According to End Distracted Driving, 16% of all distracted driving crashes involved drivers under the age of 20, making the youngest and most inexperienced drivers most at risk of distracted driving dangers.

Commercial Truck Drivers Are Also Banned From Texting and Driving Nationwide

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation commercial truck drivers are banned from texting while driving. Not unlike passenger vehicle drivers, the ban that is in effect may not be stopping them from the practice, but the penalties are steeper and may cost the offending drivers their jobs.

How Are Commercial Truck Drivers Penalized for Texting While Driving Violations?

Drivers who are texting in Whittier, California are initially penalized with a citation that requires a fine to be paid. Money is a motivator, and when certain acts require drivers to pay a fine, they may think twice about doing it again.

What happens when a commercial truck driver is caught texting and driving?

  • The driver can be fined up to $2,750
  • The driver’s employer, the actual carrier, can be fined up to $11,000
  • The driver is penalized with a violation of ten points against their Commercial Driver’s License — which is some states could mean an automatic suspension
  • Commercial motor vehicle drivers with multiple driving while texting convictions may result in disqualification by the FMCSA

Texting while driving is dangerous, and in Los Angeles County, it is illegal. If you are hurt in a traffic collision with someone who was texting behind the wheel, contact our personal injury attorneys Whittier at Hanning & Sacchetto, LLP in Whittier, California today at (562)698-6446 to learn how we can pursue the driver and their insurance company for your complete financial recovery.