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What you need to know about California's distracted driving law

Now more than ever, drivers are getting behind the wheel and paying increasingly less attention to the road. With so many distractions vying for a driver's attention in California, ranging from an overabundance of advertising messages, eating and drinking behind the wheel, and the constant temptation to use a cellphone while driving, the risk of causing an accident due to a distracted driver is high.

California is attempting to regulate the problem of distracted driving with a state law that goes even further than federal agency recommendations on the issue. Here is a basic overview of what the law aims to accomplish.

Hand-held devices banned

According to an article in The New York Times, federal data revealed that more than 3,400 deaths in 2015 resulted from accidents where distracted drivers played a role. California's distracted driving law attempts to go further than federal agency recommendations by forbidding drivers from even holding a mobile device while driving. The state governor signed the law and it went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

California seems to be leading the way in terms of legislating against distracted driving, with other states following suit. Given that the state is on the cutting edge in terms of protecting those on the road from the risks of distracted drivers, it stands to reason that someone in a crash with a distracted driver who sustains an injury as a result may have a case in a California court of law.

Hands-free use not included in the ban

There are, however, limits to what California's distracted driving law bans. For example, using hands-free technology while driving is still permitted under the law. It is important to note that hands-free system use can also contribute to distracted driving.

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