Although most people drive safely when behind the wheel, there will inevitably be instances when severe accidents happen. With over 26 million registered drivers in California, critical injuries occur every day, and hospitals are flooded with patients who have suffered an injury due to an automobile accident.
Cellphones are one of the leading culprits for dangerous driving accidents in California, and the public’s addiction to social media causes people to focus on things like updating their Instagram feed instead of paying attention to the cars around them. When teenagers see a funny sign and want to share it with their followers, they often determine that the process of posting on social media is more important than the safety of their fellow drivers. This can lead to accidents that cause life-threatening injuries and result in the negligent party being under criminal prosecution.
A Prime Example of Negligent Driving Practices
One memorable example of dangerous driving happened in 2013, when David Riggs was killed while riding his scooter back to his home in Minnesota. The teenager driving the vehicle was convicted of a misdemeanor because it was alleged that she was texting her friends on an iPhone. The deceased’s father, Craig Riggs, was obviously upset and decided to file a suit against Apple claiming that the company was partially responsible for his son’s death.
Judge Maureen A. Folan of the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled on Thursday, August 25, 2017, that Apple was not liable for the boy’s death because the guilty driver “neglected her duty to safely operate her vehicle” by looking at the message. While it was an admirable attempt by Mr. Riggs and his attorneys, the arguments used in court were unconvincing, and more experienced attorneys could have helped him focus his attention on more deserving targets.
Legislation on Cell Phone Usage While Driving in California
While there are people who believe the state’s distracted driving laws could be more punitive, it is well-known that California has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding cell phone usage in cars. The state has completely banned drivers from operating handheld cellphones while driving. This restriction does not apply to passengers or people who are driving on private property. It also does not apply to those who are driving authorized emergency vehicles or those who are making emergency calls to an appropriate law enforcement agency.
With strict rules legislating handheld cell phones, many people are now using hands-free phones to communicate during their commutes. For individuals eighteen and over, a driver can use a Bluetooth or an earpiece to talk and communicate, as long as it does not cover both ears. While talking on a hands-free phone is permissible for driving adults, there is a complete ban on texting while driving on California roads. A person would be fined $20 for their first offense and $50 if caught texting and driving for a second time.
Helping Those Devastated by Distracted Drivers
Just because distracted driving is not socially scorned to the same degree as drunk driving, that does not mean that devastating injuries cannot occur because of small lapses in judgement. Cars on the interstate or neighborhood roads can hit high speeds and can cause accidents that result in years of pain for a person who is hit by a careless driver. If you have been badly injured by a distracted driver, and live in Pasadena, California or the surrounding area, you should contact Strassburg, Gilmore, & Wei, Attorneys at Law and find out how you can hold any negligent party accountable for the hurt you have endured.