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What All California Drivers Should Know about Smartphones and Driving

In recent years, distracted driving has annually been linked to more than 420,000 injuries and more than 3,100 deaths in the United States.

Those numbers, along with the undeniable devastation for crash victims and their families, should be enough to cause drivers to put down their phones and focus on the task at hand.

Commonsense safety measures aside, many people in San Francisco are unsure of what the law allows in terms of smartphone use while driving.

Here is a quick breakdown to clarify:

  • In California, texting is prohibited for drivers of all ages.
  • Handheld phone use is prohibited for drivers of all ages.
  • Bus drivers and novice drivers (those under age 18) are prohibited from using any kind of cell phone while driving.

What about cab drivers and ride-share drivers?

Even if your cab or Uber driver needs to use a map application to locate where you're going, that should be done before the car starts moving. Driver distraction is not limited to texting while driving. Looking at a map, talking on a phone, grooming, eating - these are all potentially deadly forms of driver distraction.

Are hands-free devices any safer for driving?

No, hands-free use of phones can be just as dangerous, according to the National Safety Council. Studies have shown that hands-free devices and features, such as an earpiece, dashboard system or a speakerphone, are also dangerously distracting for drivers.

Why? You need your visual, manual and cognitive faculties focused on the task of driving in order to operate a motor vehicle safely and remain aware of your surroundings. While talking on a hands-free device may keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, studies have shown that using a hands-free phone is very distracting to the mind, and crashes happen when drivers are cognitively distracted.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your legal options for obtaining full and fair compensation. Insurance companies and negligent drivers are notorious for trying to avoid their responsibilities to victims. A personal injury lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected.

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