Driving in Southern California is an experience unlike any other in the world. With sprawling metropolitan areas, vast length corridors, multiple types of roads, a combination of vehicles, all allowing millions of daily drivers to share the road.
With every vehicle being operated by an individual driver, we all likely have a few stories about distracted drivers. It is not uncommon to see drivers eating, talking on the phone, texting, reading, watching a video on their phones or LCD screen, or even putting on clothes or makeup.
It is certainly unnerving to watch, especially knowing that they are behind the wheel of what is essentially a two-ton projectile moving at dangerous speeds. A fraction of a second can be all it takes to go from a normal day of commuting to an intense tragic collision.
Make no mistake about it, distracted driving is dangerous.
Accidents and Distracted Driving: A Serious SoCal Conundrum
In 2021, motor vehicle accidents were responsible for 38,460 fatalities in the US. According to National Safety Council (https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/preliminary-monthly-estimates/), California accounted for 3,606 of those in 2019.
Nationwide, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers as well as 562 pedestrians and bicyclists; 858 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in California – accounting for almost 10%.
In Southern California, which has some of the most strict distracted driver laws, there were more than 178,000 cell phone use citations and more than 31,000 citations for texting or the use of a mobile device while driving.
Californians ranked texting while driving and talking on a phone as the two largest dangers while driving. This is according to a study done by the National Safety Council. The study also found that drivers who are engaged in other activities, such as eating or drinking, are also more likely to be involved in an accident. It is often not a single distraction that causes a driver to lose focus and cause an accident, but the compounding of several distractions that lead to dangerous and deadly conclusions.
Laws to Prevent Distracted Driving in California
California is continually passing additional and aggressive laws (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=23123.5.&lawCode=VEH) to help reduce and hopefully eliminate distracted driving. Prohibited activities include:
- Talking on a hand-held cell phone
- Texting while driving
- Using a mobile or electronic device for entertainment purposes
- Talking hands-free on a cell phone for those under 18 years of age
- Operating a vehicle at an unsafe speed
- Operating a vehicle without maintaining safe distances to other vehicles
Despite such regulations on the books, more than 178,000 individuals used their devices illegally and received a citation. The number of events where drivers used a mobile device and were not cited could easily be in the tens of millions of occurrences annually.
Distracted Drivers Are Dangerous to Everyone
Distracted drivers tend to follow too closely, fail to regulate speed accurately, ignore traffic control devices (traffic lights and stop signs), ignore posted speed limits, and fail to drive defensively. Simply put, if a driver is paying attention to their cell phone or snack, adequate attention cannot also be provided to the road and those sharing it. As shown in the statistics above from the NSC, distracted drivers injure and kill thousands of people every year.
Californians are aware of the dangers and understand that, when driving or walking on city roads, they are frequently putting their own lives in danger.
Contact Harsh Law For A Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the Inland Empire area, specifically the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, the attorneys at Harsh Law can work to get the settlement you deserve from an accident caused by a distracted driver. For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact Harsh Law online or at 909-793-6261.