Driving requires focus. Doing the activity without it would not only endanger the life of the driver or his/her passenger/s but the lives of everyone on the road. Distracted driving is the reckless act of engaging in other activities that takes the driver's focus away from the road.
Every year, as more and more people get access to personal vehicles, the number of road accidents caused by distracted driving is continually rising. To encourage people to avoid engaging in distracting activities while driving, California enacted Assembly Bill AB 47 to sanction drivers who got caught driving distractedly.
Common Forms of Distraction
The following are the most common distracting activities that pose a risk among drivers:
- Reaching for a phone;
- Sending or reading text messages;
- Reaching for objects other than a phone;
- Looking at a roadside scenery or object;
- Eating; and
- Interaction with the radio.
Existing law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving. Existing law also prohibits a person from driving while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the telephone or device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and is used in that manner while driving. A person who is 18 years of age or younger is prohibited from driving while using a wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device, even if equipped with a hands-free device.
Existing law establishes that specified convictions and violations under the Vehicle Code and traffic-related incidents count as points against a driver's record for purposes of suspension or revocation of the privilege to drive and that certain other violations do not result in a violation point. Existing law also generally provides that traffic convictions involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle result in a violation point. Existing law provides an exemption for the electronic device violations described above from being counted as points against a driver's record for purposes of suspension or revocation of the privilege to drive.
This bill would instead make only those electronic device violations that occur within 36 months, beginning July 1, 2021, of a prior conviction for the same offense subject to a violation point against the driver's record.
Penalties for Distracted Driving
California Vehicle Code CVC 12810.3
Notwithstanding subdivision (f) of Section 12810, a violation point shall be given only for a conviction of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 23123, subdivision (a) of Section 23123.5, or subdivision (b) of Section 23124, occurring on or after July 1, 2021, that occurs within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.
California Vehicle Code CVC 12810.
Except as provided in subdivision (i), any other traffic conviction involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle upon the highway shall be given a value of one point.
A driver falsely accused of driving while engaged in distracting activities will be subjected to facing legal disputes. To prove his/her innocence, a legal aid, i.e., a defense attorney, can argue that the driver/operator shows evidence that he/she was not driving under any form of distraction. The defendant was able to show proof that he/she was going safely despite the accusations.
The aftermaths that follow distracted driving cases are a hassle to everyone. That is why it would be the best option for all of the parties involved to seek professional legal assistance from competent law practitioners. They would be the best people to handle such disputes. A good lawyer must ensure fair implementation of the law.
If you or someone you know ever had the misfortune involved in vehicular accidents like rear-end collisions, it would be beneficial for your party to seek professional help from our credible roster of criminal defense lawyers.
Always remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. As a driver, it is your duty and obligation to stay focused, avoid distractions, and always respect the rules of the road.
- Vehicle Code VC2800.2 – Reckless evasion
- Vehicle Code VC22400 – Driving Under the Speed Limit
- Vehicle Code VC23103 – Wet Reckless
- Vehicle Code VC231052 – Driving Under the Influence
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