The new bill, signed by governor Jerry Brown, expands on the current cell phone restrictions already in place. Effective January 1st, all hands-on cell phone use while behind the wheel will be illegal. This will include social media use, searching the Internet, music browsing, and GPS programming. The new bill, AB 1785, was created in response to the growing amount of social media use while driving, particularly in heavy, slow traffic. This has resulted in an increased amount of accidents and distracted driving since the previous bills, SB 1613 in 2006 prohibiting phone calls and SB 28 in 2008 prohibiting texting, were put into place.
In a recent press release, assembly member, and author of the new bill, Bill Quirk, explained the changes to California law stating, “Technology has improved so rapidly, and our cell phones are more capable of much more than just calls and text messages. Smartphones have an abundance of available features that demand a driver’s attention, leading to very dangerous driving behavior. However, such activities are not clearly prohibited by law.” In 2015, there were reportedly 12 fatal car accidents and 500 injury collisions due to distracted drivers. Quirk hopes to limit the number of distracted driver accidents with the signing of the new bill. “I am proud that Governor Brown has agreed that it is time that we update our archaic laws on the issue and do our part to make sure drivers are focused on the road. This bill will save lives,” Assemblymember Quirk stated. With the new law in place, any and all cell phone use while behind the wheel will be illegal.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an automobile accident, potentially caused by a distracted driver? The attorneys at Owen Patterson & Owen were voted the number one personal injury law firm by the citizens of Santa Clarita, California. Our team can handle every type of personal injury case, from auto accidents to amusement park accidents. Get in touch with us to find out what we can do for you. Call us at 800.676.5295 or contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss your case and how our experienced attorneys can help.