Texting while driving car. Irresponsible man sending sms and using smartphone.


Winter Law Group Dec. 28, 2020

In 2019, nearly 60% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was texting or talking on a mobile phone. 51% admitted they had made mistakes while driving and using their phone.

Every year in California, distracted drivers cause thousands of accidents, with many resulting in significant injury and even death. In fact, 9% of crash fatalities nationwide are caused by distracted drivers.

Most would agree that no call, or text, or social media post is worth a life — but unfortunately, that is often the cost. Drivers have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers, other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians to responsibly operate their motor vehicle using the highest standard of care while on California’s roadways. This includes avoiding distractions that can take your eyes off the road.

At the Winter Law Group, our firm proudly represents clients and their families in Fresno, California, and the surrounding communities who have been injured or killed by the negligent actions of a distracted driver. It is our wish that everyone makes more of a conscious effort to avoid being the cause of an accident that causes significant injury or death due to their own reckless behavior behind the wheel. 

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel while operating a vehicle. Phone use while driving is generally the most common distraction, especially texting and driving. Just looking at the screen to see who is calling or texting or to read a breaking news notification can also take your eyes off the road. Texting, calling, adjusting your air conditioner, or changing the radio station are other distractions that can take at least one hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road.

At the end of the day, anything that takes your focus off of driving can be considered a distraction. That includes being in a conversation or attempting to perform other duties while keeping your hands on the steering wheel.

Common Risks Associated With Distracted Driving

Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds can double your risk of causing an accident. This is because you can miss seeing objects and cues that often warn you of an impending accident, such as brake lights, turn signals, warning signs, and traffic signals.

California Distracted Driving Laws

California law prohibits drivers from even holding a device in their hands while operating a vehicle. This includes cell phones and other electronic devices, such as a GPS system. All such devices must be mounted in a way that does not interfere with the driver’s view of the roadway or with the operation of safety equipment such as airbags. 

The law also bans texting while driving, even if you are attempting to use a mounted device. While not specifically addressed, the law prohibits other activities that can cause a distraction, including eating or drinking while operating a vehicle.

3 Simple Tips to Help YouAvoid Distracted Driving

  1. Wait to do anything that may be considered distracting until you are seated in a parked vehicle off the roadway. This includes using your cell phone for calls, texts, or internet use and plugging in GPS coordinates. This also includes eating or drinking and adjusting mirrors, temperature controls, seat positions, and the steering wheel. Additionally, if you wish to prepare passengers for the trip, especially children in the rear seat, you should always do this before putting the vehicle in motion to avoid distractions while you are driving. You should also stow any loose items so they do not move around while in transit, and take the time to be fully groomed and dressed before you begin driving.

  2. Concentrate fully on driving and nothing else. Constantly scan for other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists while driving. Pay attention to road conditions caused by weather or changes in roadway surfaces. Keep vigilant for roadway signage regarding hazards, upcoming intersections, speed limits, and traffic conditions. Watch for brake lights and turn signals, and maintain safe distances between vehicles.

  3. If you need to look away from the road for any reason, wait until you can safely pull off the roadway and park your vehicle. Handle the distraction in its entirety before you resume driving.

How to Pursue a Claim When You Have Been Injured by a Distracted Driver

If you were injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, it is imperative that you hire an experienced California personal injury attorney to represent you in a claim for property and bodily injury damages. An attorney will fully investigate the circumstances of the crash to document the negligent driver’s distraction, including obtaining a subpoena for phone records if necessary. Proof of the negligent operator’s distracted driving can strengthen the evidence in your case and increase your chances of receiving a successful outcome.

Winter Law Group Is Here To Help You Get Justice

If you have been injured by a distracted driver in California, you should speak with a personal injury attorney to represent you in a claim against the driver’s insurer. That driver could face criminal penalties as well for breaking distracted driving laws, which could strengthen your personal injury claim.

For more than a decade, the Winter Law Group has been helping those injured by distracted drivers in personal injury claims. Our firm is proud to fight for your rights and represent you against insurance company attorneys who do not want to pay for the negligent actions that led to your pain and suffering. If you live in Fresno, California, or the surrounding area, call our office to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to discuss the details of your case and outline how we can help you take the first steps toward pursuing the justice you deserve.