Texting And Driving Penalties
Texting and driving are a dangerous combination, and could lead to severe injuries and fatalities. If you have been caught texting and driving, you may be facing several different types of penalties depending on where you reside. If you have been charged with texting while driving, and have caused a car accident, you most likely will be held responsible for the other party’s injuries. There are several different types of damages you could be held responsible for, which could include medical bills, lost wages and the victim’s pain and suffering as they deal with the trauma associated with these injuries.
In California, texting while driving is considered to be illegal. There is a ban on texting, and with that several penalties that drivers may have to face. Texting bans were initially made in California to promote safety on the roads. When texting is banned, those behind the wheel will not get easily distracted and they can focus 100% on the road in front of them. When a driver takes their eyes off the road, the possibility of a Car Accident is increased, even if the driver looks away for a simple second. Severe injuries could result from reading just one text.
Although texting bans have been initiated by several different types of government authorities in California, many still text and drive. Several studies according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, have shown that texting while driving has increased within the last several years, even though texting and driving has been banned.
What Are The Exceptions to Texting While Driving in California?
There are certain exceptions to texting and driving. You will be fine for texting while driving unless:
- Your cell phone is on the dashboard of the vehicle.
- The cell phone has been mounted in the center counsel.
- You are using a hands-free device.
- The cell phone is mounted on the lower left corner of the dashboard.
- The cell phone is mounted on the right side of the dashboard.
- Drivers are operating a vehicle on private property.
- Drivers are operating a school bus and using the phone for an emergency purpose.
- When making a call to a law enforcement agency.
- Drivers who are driving emergency vehicles.
- Turning off a mounted GPS system.
What About Drivers Who Are Under The Age of 18?
Drivers who are under the age of 18 cannot use a phone or even a hands-free device.
What Are The Penalties For Texting And Driving in California?
According to Assembly Bill 47, which was passed in California in 2019, the fines for texting while driving were raised. At first, the fines for texting while driving in California were $20. But, this Assembly Bill increases the minimum fees to $162. This is just the penalty for the first offense, if it is the second or third offense, this penalty will tremendously increase. There are also additional fees depending on each County, with Los Angeles County issuing the most fees for these fines.
If a driver gets more than one distracted driving citation within 36 months, they will get a point on their record. The Department of Motor Vehicles in California has a record for each driver. The more points a driver has, the more likely that the insurance company will raise their rates.
What Should I Do To Prevent a Texting And Driving Accident?
- If you need to use your phone, make sure that you are using the hands-free features to make a phone call.
- Never look down at your phone, that text can wait.
- Do not place your phone in an area where it is likely to fall over if you step on the brakes.
- If you need to, purchase an earpiece. Keep in mind that you cannot have both ear pieces in both ears while driving.
Will Texting And Driving Increase My Insurance Payments?
Citations for texting while driving will increase your insurance premium payments. The more citations you have, even if it is for other things such as speeding, your insurance rates are likely to go up. To some, insurance rates have increased around 40% simply because the driver got a penalty for texting while driving.
Are There Defenses To Texting While Driving?
In certain circumstances, you may not be responsible for texting while driving, and you do have the right to raise any defenses. Some examples of defenses include:
- You were not driving the vehicle at the time you were texting. For example, if your car was stopped and parked at a parking spot, you will not receive a citation for texting while driving.
- You were not texting, and the police officer issued an incorrect ticket.
Could I Ignore My Texting While Driving Ticket?
If you ignore your texting while driving ticket, you could incur more penalties. Instead, you may have to pay more in fines, and you may be required to go to court to face your second set of penalties. You could also receive a failure to appear penalty.
Is It a Crime To Text And Drive?
The criminal system is completely different from the California Vehicle Code. If you violate the California Vehicle Code, and text and drive, it is not a crime. But, you could be faced with civil action such as a personal injury lawsuit from the injured party if you cause an accident.
How Do You Prove Texting And Driving?
In order to file a texting while driving lawsuit, you must show:
- The driver had a responsibility of driving in a reasonably safe manner.
- The driver was texting while driving, and failed to drive safely.
- The driver then caused the accident.
- The other party now has injuries from the accident.
Contacts Our Texting And Driving Car Accident Attorneys
Have you been involved in an accident caused by a driver who was texting and driving? Give our accident attorneys a call today. Texting and driving is a complex lawsuit that you must have to prove. Although it may seem clear cut, when the other party rejects the fact that they were texting while the accident occurred, it is your attorney’s responsibility to gather all the evidence that proves otherwise. This means gathering all the phone records involving text and phone calls made while the other driver was driving. This takes a highly skilled attorney, and requires extensive experience representing victims who have been involved in accidents like these.
Contact our experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers today for more information on how we can help you with your specific accident case. Our attorneys work tirelessly to make sure that your family and friends are safe, and we prevent accidents like texting and driving car accidents.
We have offices located all around California, and are ready to help you every step of the way. Give us a call today to schedule a case evaluation with our highly rated attorneys at Megeredchian Law, and to see what the next steps will be for your case.