Distracted Driving Lawyer in Pasadena, CA
Distracted driving is a serious threat to public safety for Californians. Transportation statistics show that 474 people were killed and 42,913 people were killed in California distracted driving accidents in a recent five-year period —a staggering reminder of what a few seconds of inattention behind the wheel can do.
Even though most drivers acknowledge that distracted driving is dangerous, many also admit that they still engage in such behaviors while driving, such as texting, talking on a cell phone, or adjusting navigation controls. When inattention causes an accident and injuries, the negligent driver can be held accountable in California.
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in Pasadena, the Law Offices of Pius Joseph – Personal Injury Attorney can help you seek financial recovery for the harm and losses you’ve suffered. Since 1987, Attorney Pius Joseph has protected the rights and interests of injured people, recovering millions of dollars for clients, both through settlements and at trial.
Our legal team puts in the time and effort to build a strong, persuasive case for each and every client. We never back down when insurance companies try to deflect liability or delay paying victims the compensation they deserve.
If you need justice, you’ve come to the right place. Call or contact us for a free consultation with a Pasadena distracted driving accident lawyer.
Most Common Examples of Distracted Driving
Inattention has been a contributing factor in motor vehicle accidents for decades. But modern technology has only added to the list of possible distractions for drivers. The most common distractions include:
- Cell phone use, especially reading or sending text messages or emails, or browsing the web
- Looking at a map or using a navigation or GPS device or system
- Using the car radio or infotainment system
- Eating or drinking
- Personal grooming
- Interacting with passengers (especially young children) or pets in the vehicle
- Reading signs or billboards outside the vehicle
- Reaching for objects, such as sunglasses or a purse
- Reading books, magazines, or newspapers
Why Is Driving While Distracted Dangerous?
Distracted drivers are a threat to anyone in the vicinity of their vehicles. When a driver takes their attention and eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, their vehicle can cover a significant distance, especially when traveling at highway speeds.
For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in the time it takes to read or send a text message on your phone, a vehicle traveling at highway speeds will have covered the length of a football field.
Even during a brief distraction, a driver may encounter emergencies or hazards on the road that could be avoided by a fully attentive driver. However, by the time the distracted driver puts his or her eyes on the road and both hands back on the wheel, there may not be enough time or space to safely stop, causing a serious collision.
Distracted driving can also lead to other hazardous actions by a driver, such as drifting into neighboring traffic lanes or off the road altogether.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Eating While Driving?
Although California’s distracted driving laws are primarily focused on preventing handheld cell phone use, eating while driving may cause a motorist to be pulled over by a police officer. Distracted driving is classified as a primary offense in California, meaning that law enforcement officers can stop anyone that they witness being distracted behind the wheel.
An officer may also have other grounds to pull you over for eating while driving. For instance, if eating while driving causes you to drift or swerve between lanes, a police officer could ticket you for careless or reckless driving.
Distracted Driving Accident Statistics
According to NHTSA, nearly 3,000 people are killed nationwide every year by distracted driving accidents. An additional 400,000 are injured.
In addition, 40 percent of Californians admit to reading text messages or emails while driving.
Texting is believed to cause a similar level of impairment as someone with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent, the legal limit for most drivers. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, drivers who text, reach for a phone, or dial are three times more likely to be involved in a distracted driving accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recent statistics show that young adults aged 20-29 accounted for 25 percent of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes, while drivers aged 15-19 were more likely than other drivers to be distracted in crashes that involved a fatality. A survey by the CDC also found that 39 percent of high school students admitted to sending a text or email while driving at least once in the past month.
However, distracted driving is not limited to young drivers. A study conducted by AT&T found that 98 percent of drivers reported being aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but 75 percent of respondents still admitted to still engaging in texting behind the wheel.
California Distracted Driving Laws
California law prohibits the use of a cell phone or other electronic device in your hand while driving. However, cell phone use is permitted via a hands-free Bluetooth device or the voice command feature in your vehicle. Drivers under 18 may not use a cell phone under any circumstances while driving. Cell phone use by a driver is permitted only when driving on private property, or if calling emergency services or 911.
California does permit drivers to use a mounted GPS or navigation unit while driving, so long as the device can be operated with a single touch. Drivers may also use manufacturer-installed dashboard infotainment systems.
A citation for unlawfully using a handheld electronic device in California carries a base fine of $20, with the fine going up to $50 for a subsequent offense. Additional fines and assessments can be imposed under certain circumstances, often causing the total for texting while driving tickets to exceed $100 or more.
For example, if you fail to pay a ticket, you can be charged with failure to appear, which carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Beginning July 1, 2021, drivers who are cited for using a handheld electronic device while driving will also receive a point on their driving record, which will remain there for at least 36 months.
How to Prove the Other Driver Was Texting
If you suspect that the other driver distracted in the moments leading up to the accident, there are several possible ways to prove it, such as:
- Looking at the police accident report. The at-fault driver may have admitted to distracted driving or the officer may have noted that inattention was a contributing factor in the collision.
- Reviewing the driver’s cell phone records. Text messages, emails, and phone calls will have timestamps showing when they were sent or made. The driver’s own cell phone may also contain metadata showing when the screen was active and what applications (such as a messaging app) were being used.
- Witnesses to the accident. Eyewitnesses may have spotted the driver engaging in distracted driving behaviors.
- Photos or video evidence: Dashcam or video surveillance may provide indisputable proof that the other driver was distracted when the crash occurred.
Hit in a Distracted Driving Accident? Call the Law Offices of Pius Joseph – Personal Injury Attorney!
The Law Offices of Pius Joseph – Personal Injury Attorney can help you pursue a claim for compensation after a distracted driving accident by:
- Recovering all available evidence to prove that the other driver was distracted
- Hiring accident reconstruction and engineering experts to help recreate the accident scene to show how it occurred and why the other driver was at fault
- Documenting the full extent of your injuries and losses so that we can pursue compensation that you need, both now and in the future
- Aggressively pursuing a fair and full settlement with the insurance companies.
- If necessary, filing a lawsuit and taking your case to trial
Attorney Pius Joseph has the knowledge, experience, and resources to vigorously advocate on your behalf. Let us relieve the stress of pursuing a legal claim against the distracted driver and his or her insurance company. Contact us today to speak with a distracted driving lawyer in Pasadena, CA. The first consultation is free.