Texting and driving still a problem in California despite law against it

Since 2009, texting while driving has been prohibited on California roadways. Indeed, in its current form, California's texting ban forbids motorists from using any handheld "electronic communications device" — such as a smartphone or other cellphone — to read, write or send text messages while driving.

Yet, despite this anti-texting law — and the corresponding fines — many California drivers continue to engage in the unlawful practice. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, a 2012 survey indicates that an alarming 7.4 percent of all drivers in the Golden State can be found using their cellphones at any given daytime moment.

Dangers of distracted driving

However, while texting behind the wheel is illegal in California, it is also extremely dangerous and one of the most distracting habits a driver can engage in. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that simply sending or receiving just one text message can divert a driver's eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. And, while this may not initially seems like a long time, it is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field if traveling at 55 mph — making it a significant distraction by any measure.

In 2012, over 10,000 injuries and 139 deaths were attributed to distracted driving car accidents in California alone. Nationwide, during the same period, over 3,300 traffic fatalities were linked to distracted driving, according to the NHTSA.

Even the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is getting involved in fighting this deadly trend. Currently, the CHP is in the midst of a yearlong program aimed at encouraging drivers to put down their phones and concentrate on the roads. At the conclusion of the program, the CHP hopes to have completed at least 500 safety presentations and 60 distracted driving enforcement operations.

Assistance may be needed if injured in a car accident

Sadly, one of worst aspects of texting while driving — and distracted driving in general — is that the offending driver not only puts himself or herself in harm's way but every other nearby motorist as well. Indeed, even a cautious driver can be injured in an accident caused by another negligent texter on the road.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a texting driver, it is often advisable to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to learn what damages you may be entitled. An experienced attorney can assist with investigating your accident and help explain your rights and options given your circumstances.