Our firm’s San Diego car accident lawyers know that out of all of the top causes of car accidents, the number one cause is distracted driving. And what distracts drivers the most? Their cell phones, with text messaging being the most dangerous form of usage.
Despite laws in California that prohibit texting behind the wheel, a new study shows that the number of Southern California motorists who text and drive has gone up since the laws were put into effect last year. This according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Southern California motorists text more since the distracted driving laws passed.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 6,000 wrongful deaths were recorded in 2008 that were attributed to distracted drivers, with a high percentage linked to texting and driving. At the start of 2009, rates of texting while driving went on a decline. Now, these numbers seem to be jumping back to levels seen before the ban.
“People are becoming aware that there isn’t much enforcement,” said said an Auto Club researcher. “The punishments need to change.”
Punishments are becoming harsher, but that’s not stopping “SoCal” motorists from trying to type on their keypads and steer their cars at the same time. Recently, a Costa Mesa man was found guilty of causing a fatal pedestrian accident while texting and driving. He was sentenced to four years in prison for the crash.
The anti-texting laws and police enforcement are now being called into question when it comes to stopping drivers who text. What makes these laws difficult to enforce is the same thing that makes texting and driving so dangerous — it is done in the laps of drivers, pulling the eyes of motorists away from the road, as well as keeping the cell phone out of sight from authorities.
On average, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issues only 150 citations for texting every single month, with the total number of hand-held cellphone citation reached 11, 600 in 2009. An Orange County survey also indicated that before the prohibition texting was put into effect, 1.4% drivers were caught texting at any given time, but that number slumped to 0.5% after the ban was initiated.
From March to April of this year, however, the figure jumped up to 1.1%
For our car accident lawyers in San Diego, this is not good news. We know that the police can only enforce these laws so much, but what it really comes down to is that the responsibility is the hands of all drivers. That means, taking the cell phone out of your hand, turning it off, setting it on ‘silent’, and putting it out of sight and out of reach for the duration of your car ride.
The temptation to text and drive might be great, but make no mistake: it is a risk that comes with deadly consequences.
Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with an experienced San Diego car accident lawyers or click here to submit your case for a FREE online review. We have associates who speak both English and Spanish, so contact us if you wish to seek legal council.