Distracted Driver Fines Double in California

San Francisco Bay Area Car Accident Attorneys

The state Senate and House recently approved a proposal sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian to double fines for distracted driving violations. Under SB 28, fines for using a handheld cell phone or texting while driving will increase to $50 for a first offense and $100 thereafter. A point will also be assessed against a driver’s license on second and repeat offenses. After court costs are figured into the equation, a first offense for talking on a cell phone or texting is $310 while repeat offenders can expect to pay $528.

Commercial truck drivers are also affected by SB 28. As of July 2011, truck drivers can no longer us “push – to – talk” cell phones that use wireless technology. In order to comply with the law, truck drivers will need to use accessories that allow for “hands – free” use of a cell phone.

Distracted Driver Laws in California – What’s Prohibited?

Under current California state law, the following prohibitions are in place regarding the use of a cell phone or texting while driving:

• Unless they have hands – free accessories, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless phones while driving
• School bus drivers and transit bus drivers are prohibited from using or talking on cell phones while driving
• Drivers over the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving (unless they use hands – free accessories)
• Drivers are prohibited from using a wireless device to transmit, write, or read a text message

Car Accidents, Serious Injuries, and Cell Phone / Texting

Despite legislation prohibiting the use of a cell phone or texting while driving, it doesn’t appear Californians are going to change their behavior any time soon. While Sen. Simitian claims California Highway Patrol data indicates a 40 percent to 50 percent drop in accidents involving cell phone use, many believe the fines and penalties are not enough to dissuade drivers from talking or texting on cell phones while driving.

As a result, car accidents involving drivers on cell phones are likely to continue. Fortunately, however, it’s easy enough to check a negligent driver’s cell phone use to determine if he or she was texting or talking on a cell phone at the time of an accident. This is especially important since it is more difficult for an insurer to dispute fault on the part of their insured when it’s clear he or she was on a cell phone at the time of an accident.

Contact San Francisco Bay Area Distracted Driver Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a car, bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian knockdown, or truck accident, don’t assume a cell phone wasn’t involved. If the driver that hit you was talking on a cell phone, you can bet he or she won’t admit it. At Weber & Nierenberg, we have the investigative resources needed to expose negligent distracted drivers. To schedule an appointment and discuss your case, contact San Francisco personal injury attorneys Weber & Nierenberg today.

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