Our attorneys seek justice for injury victims in the San Diego and Riverside areas.

Why the law alone doesn’t prevent distracted driving crashes

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Common sense makes it clear that distracted driving is dangerous. Anyone who thinks about how risky operating a motor vehicle is understands why they need to devote their full attention to the task. Yet, despite the importance of maintaining appropriate control of a vehicle in traffic, many drivers let other matters distract them while they are on the road. The result could potentially be a preventable collision that could cause serious injuries or even change the course of someone’s life.

California does have a law prohibiting the manual use of mobile devices while driving. Despite that statute, distracted driving remains one of the top causes of modern crashes. Why doesn’t the law protect people from distracted driving collisions?

People actively subvert the law

The distracted driving statute in California makes it a crime to manually use a phone while in control of the vehicle. People can theoretically use hands-free systems, including wireless earpieces or talk-to-text software, if they have to respond to incoming messages or calls while driving.

Unfortunately, many motorists try to do more than that. They might drive with their phones in their laps and try to avoid detection as they text at the wheel. They might pick up their phones only at intersections and then tell themselves that they have made safety a priority. No matter what penalties the state imposes, the law itself does not prevent people from using digital devices when they drive. It simply makes it possible for the state to punish those who get caught.

Distraction involves more than phone use

Distracted driving doesn’t just occur when people use devices. There are many other activities that people might engage in while driving that could lead to dangerous levels of distraction as well. Trying to eat a meal or drink a hot coffee on the way to work is a form of distraction. Conversations with passengers and singing along to the radio can also be dangerous distractions. Even daydreaming could cause people to fail to pay attention to the road, leading to completely preventable collisions.

While the law can impose penalties for distraction related to technology, other forms of distraction are harder to prove and penalize. The unfortunate reality is that distracted motorists are likely to always be a concern on California roads. Filing an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit could help those negatively affected by the bad traffic choices of others after a car crash. Those who understand the risks of the road are in a better position to protect themselves and hold other people accountable if a crash occurs.