Whether you are the busy mom, the fashionably late intern, or the burnt out accountant; you have at one point or another, taken your eyes off the road to entertain some form of distraction. It is quite possible you have engaged in one or more of these temptations because you are convinced that you are a highly-skilled multi-tasker. Perhaps your guilty vehicular hobby is applying a fresh coat of lip-gloss during rush hour. You may even be culpable of shoving your face full of French fries while speeding to your next meeting, because deadlines come before a well-mannered dinner. And sometimes we cannot even help it, right?
Considering the backseat full of hyperactive, snack-deprived children screaming over the GPS system. Whatever the scenario may be, there’s a cardinal message to be portrayed: there is no adequate way to responsibly operate a vehicle whilst doing something else. Simply put, do not cave into distractions.
Current traffic laws in California impose that texting while driving will result in a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for any that follow. Now, 20 bucks may not dent your wallet but considering the added assessments, the finality of the fine equates to approximately $150 for the first time and around $250 for subsequent offenses. It is noteworthy to mention the likelihood of an increase to your car insurance rate. This is all considering the best-case scenario; the flipped version results in an accident and quite possibly a fatality. In a 2017, almost 70 people were killed and 6,5000 injured as a result of DD. (chp.ca.gov).
Let us pause to absorb this—is any text message or song switch really worth that much?
Existing Hands-Free Traffic Law:
The more realistic and responsible approach brings us to the existing Hands-Free Traffic Law, which allows drivers to utilize devices with enabling speaker or Bluetooth features. The typical scenario involves having your cellular device mounted on the dashboard and speaker mode activated or earphone intact. However, this law does not apply to those 18 years or younger.
The law is going into refinement beginning July 21, 2021 where projected changes will result in additional penalties. Any violation of the hands-free law will conclude in an added point to the driver’s record in a 36-month period of prior offense.
The takeaway today is to get in your vehicle with the sole purpose of reaching your destination safely. Take the necessary precautions for safe cell phone usage; there are plentiful options under $15 on Amazon. Respect your meal times and eat calmly in the comfort of your home. Keep in mind that the added make-up will not make for a more appealing mug shot. As for those children, come prepared with snacks and a kid-friendly iPad for the ride. If all fails, The Sands Law Group is always ready and willing to help.
– The Sands Law Group, APLC
Andrea Leon, Legal Assistant