Texting While Driving Dangers: Increased California Fines Proposed

-Posted On November 11, 2011 In Automobile Accident-

Distracted driving statistics continue to rise, as I’ve discussed before.  The accident rate is, in fact, surpassing the drunk driving rate, recent studies have shown.  Texting while driving is, in my opinion, the most insidious forms of distracted driving.


Still, drivers continue to cause accidents that could have been prevented were they not on their cell phone texting–performing all main forms of distraction:

  • visual (taking your eyes off the road)
  • manual (taking your hands off the wheel)
  • cognitive (taking your mind off what you’re doing).

According to consumer reports, drunk driving rates are dropping significantly. The speculation is that distracted driving, according to distraction.gov, may follow the positive trend of drunk driving if the fines are raised. In California, drunk drivers face, on the first offense, a $1000 fine, a suspended license and mandatory jail time of up to six months. By comparison, according to California distracted driving laws, a first offender incurs just a $300 dollar fine. Yet, is drunk driving that much more dangerous than texting while driving? Well, drunk driving is probably more dangerous; however, distracted driving is an epidemic and is easily cured.

Consider the results of a troubling study recently conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic stating that 95 percent of drivers surveyed recognize that texting while driving is a serious threat, and 88 percent feel the same way about cell phone use. Clearly, driver education and advocacy working to bring this danger to light has been impactful.

I am sad to report though that even though almost everyone recognizes the life-threatening dangers associated with texting while driving, more than a third of those same respondents also said they had read or sent a text message while driving in the last month. The disconnect suggests that people are in denial about their own distracted driving practices.

True, a key component of new cell phone technology is that of instant connectivity. How can we get people to abstain from texting, especially the younger generation?


Those using a cell phone while driving are clearly less attentive to normal driving activities. Studies have shown that texting while driving doubles reaction times. What is sad is that while we recognize the cause and effect of distracted driving, many still don’t think the dangers apply to them. It is analogous to the driver who has been drinking but still thinks they are good enough to make it home. “Texting may be dangerous for some, but I am a good enough driver to get away with it“.

As a San Francisco Automobile Accident Lawyer, I say it’s time to wake up and get real. Pay attention while you are driving. Texting while driving is not safe!

I am happy to report that there’s more pressure than ever to clamp down on distracted driving laws, but we need more if we are to keep the next generation of drivers safe.

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area motorists. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of other, and, as a San Francisco automobile accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured motorists throughout his legal career.

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