The California Highway Patrol, in an effort to promote the safety goals of the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign launching in April, plans to focus more heavily on enforcing the state’s ban on handheld cellphone use and text messaging while driving.
In some cases, the highway patrol has authorized the use of overtime to give officers more opportunities for preventing motorists from using handheld communication devices while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. California began prohibiting drivers from using cellphones without hands-free equipment in July of 2008., and an additional ban on sending text messages while driving was enacted in January of 2009. Safety studies conducted by the federal government indicate the most common cause of inattentive driving is the use of a handheld communication device. Using a cellphone while controlling a moving vehicle puts the driver at four times the risk of being involved in an accident causing injuries.
The highway patrol’s spokesperson discouraged parents from texting teenage children who are driving, but noted other situations, such as eating while driving or traveling with an unrestrained pet in the car, can lead to distracted driving as well.
As a Bakersfield car accident lawyer, I have seen the lasting damage caused by in attentive driving, and I hope the California Highway Patrol’s campaign will decrease the number of serious accidents on the road in April. If you or someone you love has been injured by an accident involving a distracted driver, please consider discussing your legal options with a Bakersfield personal injury attorney.