Some of the leading causes of catastrophic car crashes are drivers who make terrible decisions. For example, drunk driving kills thousands of people every year, and everyone knows it is illegal to drive after having had too much to drink.
While there may be some confusion about the legality of texting while driving, there is no question that distracted driving remains dangerous. The lack of a federal prohibition against distracted driving and the presence of various state by state laws regulating mobile phone use at the wheel leaves many people confused about the rules.
Regardless of the laws involved, however, distracted driving is a dangerous decision that could harm you and others. Monitoring the behaviors of other drivers near you could help you spot a distracted driver before it is too late.
Distraction can involve someone taking their hands off the wheel
Behaviors can distract in a number of ways. Visual distraction involves someone looking away from the road or the gauge display of their vehicle. Mental or internal distractions involve someone thinking intensely about something other than safe driving. Manual distraction is the most obvious and easiest to spot because it takes someone’s hands off the steering wheel.
Reaching over to grab a cup of coffee or picking up a phone will take one or sometimes both of someone’s hands off the wheel, which can increase their reaction time just enough to make them a more dangerous driver.
If you spot someone with one or both of their hands off the wheel, giving them more space could help you stay safer.
What does California law say?
In California, there is a state law that makes texting while driving a traffic infraction for anyone. Adults can use phones with hands-free systems, but novice drivers under the age of 18 shouldn’t use a phone at all while driving.
Of course, someone doesn’t have to have their phone in their hand to be too distracted to drive safely. When you suspect distraction contributed to a crash, notifying the police officer who responds to your call could help you. If the officer has access to any kind of security camera or traffic camera footage from nearby, they may be able to validate your claims of distraction and hold the other driver responsible.
Even if you can’t prove distraction caused the crash, you can likely still hold the other driver accountable for the property damage and injuries they caused in the collision. Knowing the law and your rights will help you explore your options after a serious car accident.