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Texting While Driving is Not the Only Danger for Motorists

Thanks to public awareness campaigns and laws criminalizing the use of cellphones while driving (not only in California but throughout the United States), many motorists in the Golden State are – or should be – aware of the risks and dangers associated with texting while driving. One oft-cited statistic, for example, compares reading a typical text message while driving at 55 miles per hour to driving the length of a football field blindfolded and attempting to avoid a collision!

It is tempting to believe that one can become a safer driver by simply avoiding reading and/or sending text messages while driving. While this is certainly a good start, there are other behaviors and actions that can be committed with a handheld device that can be just as deadly as texting and driving; and use is against the law.

The True Danger of a Handheld Device

 In California, drivers are prohibited from using any handheld device while driving a motor vehicle unless that device is being operated using voice-only commands or in some other hands-free fashion. (Not every state has handheld-device laws that are as stringent as California’s.) This law and others like it recognize that the primary dangers associated with handheld devices are that they distract a person’s attention, focus, and upper limbs and appendages from the task of driving. Dialing a telephone number, checking one’s voicemail, submitting a “status update” to a social media platform, and other similar actions are just as dangerous as texting while driving.

Hands-Free Does Not Mean Distraction-Free

 Even if a driver utilizes his or her cellphone or handheld device in a manner that complies with the law, this does not mean that such driver is driving in a properly careful, safe, and prudent manner. Even with hands-free technology, a driver may become distracted by the content of a conversation and fail to notice stopped traffic ahead of him or her, or a vehicle attempting to pass in an adjacent lane (for example). If a traffic collision occurred under such circumstances, the fact that the at-fault driver was using his or her handheld device in compliance with the law would not necessarily protect the driver from being named as a defendant in a California car crash lawsuit. Using a hands-free device in such a way that one is distracted can be considered as negligent as texting while driving.

Contact Heiting & Irwin for Assistance

 If you or a loved one have been injured in Riverside County, Orange County, or anywhere in California, because of a distracted driver, Heiting & Irwin can assist you. With decades of experience in helping injured motorists and passengers, we work hard to help our clients receive the maximum amount of compensation possible for their injuries as quickly as possible. Even if the at-fault driver was complying with California’s hands-free law, that driver may nonetheless be civilly liable for your injuries if the manner in which he or she was driving could be considered negligent or careless under all of the circumstances. Call 951-682-6400 or contact us online and let us help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

 

Richard Irwin

Mr. Irwin is a recognized specialist in Workers’ Compensation law. He has been certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California since 1995. He limits his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases. View Attorney Richard Irwin's Attorney Bio Here.

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