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A bill that is awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s approval, if passed into law, would require drivers in California to mount their smart phones on their windshields or dashboards if they want to use them while driving. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, even then, the only actions allowed would be ones that require only the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
No More Pokemon Go
This bill, authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, targets the deadliest cause of distracted driving-related crashes – which is the use of an electronic device while driving. This includes anything from using a navigation app to playing Pokemon Go while driving. California already has a law against texting or making calls on cell phones while driving, but this bans pretty much anything else, including map applications.
According to the latest report from the Office of Traffic Safety, California had 329,572 handheld cell phone convictions in 2014, and that was just for making calls or texting. This bill, lawmakers say, will help plug a loophole that has made it difficult for police to enforce existing distracted driving laws. In 2014, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the existing ban only prohibits a driver from holding a wireless telephone while talking on it.
Smart Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving
While laws and enforcement of those laws are important, as California car accident lawyers, we believe that prevention is the best cure. Here are a few smart ways all of us can prevent distracted driving:
• Turn off your cell phone. Try putting your phone out of reach, turning the screen around or simply shutting it off. Out of sight, out of mind.
• Avoid multitasking when you are driving. For example, set your GPS route before you get on the road. The better organized you are, the less you’ll have to take your eyes off the road when you need something.
• Do not get into serious conversations with passengers when you are on the road.
• Use voice commands and Bluetooth sparingly. Even though they are great technologies, hands-free texting and talking are still rather distracting. Your hands may be on the wheel, but your mind and attention are off the road.
• Put your phone on silent or on airplane mode so you are not distracted by the constant beeping, vibrating or dinging.
• Search the app store and your smart phone’s safety settings to maximize your phone’s safety capabilities.