California has taken steps that reflect the advancement of technology in the car and in our daily lives. Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown approved a law that allows drivers to text while driving as long as they use hands-free technology. Although the legislation was passed to convenience drivers, contradictory evidence exists that questions the safety of hands-free talking and texting while driving.
New California Texting While Driving Law
The new law comes forth after three years of a complete ban on texting while driving, and it will become effective on January 1, 2013. The new law alters the rules and allows drivers to text, but only when using a voice-activated hands-free device. When signing the bill into law, Gov. Brown explained that he can understand driver frustration and he wanted to address these frustrations by allowing drivers to reasonably text in a responsible and safe manner.
The main idea behind the law is that, when drivers have their eyes off of the road and on their phones, they miss things that can happen quickly and are more likely to be in a car accident. For example, a dog or small child may run out in front of the vehicle before the driver takes notice or traffic may suddenly slow down. With hands-free voice-activated texting, however, the premise is that a driver's eyes remain on the road, and a driver should be able to notice any quick changes. Theoretically, the roads should be safer with use of the new technology.
The Contradictory Study
However, the National Safety Council's Journal of Safety Research recently conducted a study to determine how safe hands-free texting and driving really is. The study stated that approximately 636,000 crashes result from cellphone use every year.
It also found that handheld and hands-free devices are both culpable in car accidents. Both types of communication impair the driver's ability to drive safely, taking his or her mind off the task of driving, and result in slower reaction times. These results have been found in several other studies as well.
When Distracted Driving Causes an Accident
The debate on the safety and effectiveness of hands-free devices may continue, but one thing is clear: Distracted driving results in more accidents than attentive driving.
When an accident occurs and a distracted driver is responsible, the injured victim may seek damages through a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation they deserve. These damages can be for vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.