A new study by the Automobile Club of Southern California, AAA reveals that only a year after the texting while driving ban started in California last July, driving while texting is on the rise in Orange County. California is one of only seven states that ban handheld cell phones from use while driving and not all states ban texting.
The California Highway Patrol, issues approximately 11,000 citations for cell phone violation each month. Initially after the ban went into effect, they saw a sharp drop in cell phone use, but now violators are back to pre-law numbers.
Obviously the California legislators are not pleased with the public’s indifference toward these laws. Over 6,000 annual fatalities occur from distracted driving from texting, cell phone use and other electronic devices. These types of motor vehicle accidents usually result in serious injuries. Moreover, civil damages in an auto accident lawsuit for those drivers who are found to have violated these traffic laws are now much more severe.
An Orange County man was recently sentenced to four years in prison for killing a pedestrian. Additionally, he was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence because records indicate that he had been texting just minutes before the accident. He was texting to a woman who he had recently met on a dating service. Text messages can now be determined within 14 seconds off real time, according to court testimony. Global Positing System records are now very accurate.
The tragic accident happened on Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach when Martha Ovalle was crossing the street and was hit by Mr. Kuehl’s SUV. The force of the crash propelled Ovalle 72 feet away from the point of impact where she died at the scene of blunt force trauma. Pedestrians are particularly susceptible to accident injury from cell phone use.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has launched a national “Put it down” campaign. It target both adults and teens, and challenges them both to put down the cell phone and hold off on writing texts while driving. A new study released by the Pew Research Center says that teens and adults equally disobey these laws. In fact, 47% of adults were found to talk and send texts while driving, compared to 34% of teens.
However, automobile accidents are still the number one killer of teens . Research shows that most teens don’t have completed brain development and thus don’t always make logical choices. Actually, the brain is not completely developed until approximately 25 years old.
Because of the numerous distracted driving issues that teens experience, new legislation has been introduced in congress to implement new state requirements for driver’s licenses. At 16, a young driver would have a “Graduated Driver Licensing” or GDL. Under this system, they could not drive at night and have restrictions on the number of passengers that they could drive.
At 18 they would be eligible for a full license after they have had some time to build their driving experience. The legislation is now pending, but whatever the outcome, it is essential that both adults and teens obey traffic laws and don’t text while driving.