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Distracted Driver

San Jose Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers

man texting and driving in California

One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted drivers. In fact, in 2019 more than 3,100 people died as a result of distracted drivers. This accounted for 9% of all traffic deaths in the country. Although most states now have regulations in place in order to prevent distracted drivers, many people do not heed these laws and cause accidents as a result.

California Distracted Driving Laws

California prohibits drivers from holding a cellphone or other electronic wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. This includes talking, texting, browsing the internet, or using apps unless the device is mounted on the vehicle dashboard or windshield in a way that does not obstruct the driver's view and the driver uses voice-operated or hands-free features.

The base fine for a first offense of distracted driving in California is typically around $20 to $50. However, with additional fees and assessments, the total amount can be significantly higher. For subsequent offenses, fines can increase substantially.

A distracted driving citation usually results in one point being added to the driver's record by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and driver’s potential license suspension, as well as increased insurance premiums.

For drivers under the age of 18, distracted driving violations can result in additional penalties, such as extended provisional license restrictions or mandatory completion of distracted driving education programs. Commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, face additional consequences for distracted driving violations, including potential loss of their commercial driver's license (CDL) or disqualification from operating commercial vehicles.

Distracted driving is also a form of negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care while driving. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and to pay attention to the road and surrounding conditions. Engaging in distracting activities while driving breaches this duty of care.

In many cases, distracted driving involves a violation of specific traffic laws, such as texting while driving or using a handheld device. If it can be proven that the distracted driver violated these laws, it can serve as strong evidence of negligence and liability.

Evidence that the driver was distracted at the time of the accident can strengthen the case for liability. This evidence may include eyewitness testimony, cellphone records showing phone use at the time of the crash, surveillance footage, or admissions of distraction by the driver.

Common Driving Distractions

Driving distractions can come in a variety of different forms. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, your mind off of driving, or your hands off the wheel, can be considered a driver distraction. Some of the most common distractions include:

  • Phone usage (texting/talking)
  • Fiddling with radio dials or dashboard controls
  • Holding intense conversations with passengers
  • Trying to reach for something in the back seat or passenger seat
  • Dealing with children or pets
  • Spacing out or daydreaming
  • Putting on makeup
  • Eating, drinking, smoking

Cell Phones and Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers can cause minor fender benders but they can also cause serious injury as well as death. By far the leading cause of driver distraction is cell phone use. Whether the driver is texting, talking or emailing, cell phone use causes more distracted driver accidents than any other factor.

Cognitive Vs. Manual Distractions

Drivers can also become distracted by things on the road such as people, billboards and accidents. These are all visual forms of distraction. Distraction can also come in the form of cognitive and manual. Cognitive distraction occurs any time a driver is not thinking clearly and manual distraction happens when the driver's hands leave the steering wheel. This can happen when driver's bend over to pick something up, when a driver is applying makeup, changing the radio or eating, among other things. In California, it is not illegal to eat in the car, for example, but it is illegal to use your cell phone in any way, shape or form. If your car accident was caused by a distracted driver then you are entitled to seeking a personal injury claim against them with the help of a skilled attorney.

How a Distracted Driving Accident Attorney Can Help You

At Habbas & Associates, we have more than 200 years of experience helping victims of accidents caused by the negligence of others. If this describes your accident situation then consider speaking with a San Jose personal injury attorney from our firm today. We can evaluate your case, free of charge, and develop a strategy for the best way to make sure that you get the compensation you are deserving of. Our firm offers a high quality of legal professionalism that you can be confident in should you become a client of our firm.


Contact a San Jose distracted driving accident attorney from Habbas & Associates today for the recovery that you deserve!


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