Drivers in California continue to text while driving in spite of a ban on the practice. In fact, the practice actually seems to be increasing.
The Auto Club conducted a survey of 4,000 vehicles in Orange County, and found that 2.7% of the drivers could be observed texting while driving at any given point in time. That is actually an increase of 100% since January 2009, when the law banning texting while driving went into effect.
The Auto Club says that the findings show the need for greater enforcement and other penalties for violations. Los Angeles car accident lawyers would agree wholeheartedly. Currently, the laws impose a paltry penalty of $20 for a first offense. There are no points added to the driver’s record. There is also little indication that our legislators are taking seriously the accident risks to motorists from such practices. A bill that would have toughened penalties for texting ban violators by adding a point to the driver’s records was recently defeated in the legislature. The bill would have also increased penalties for violations. The bill had been strongly supported by auto safety groups and Los Angeles car accident attorneys, but legislators were obviously not convinced that there was a serious need for stronger penalties.
As long as legislators continue to deny we have a problem with distracted drivers, we will continue to see drivers openly flouting the rules and placing other motorists and themselves at risk. We don’t need more proof that texting while driving substantially increases the risk of an accident. However, we do to actually increase fines and toughen penalties for violations. Until that happens, we can continue to expect more violations of the ban, and more risks to motorists.