There is a new push in Sacramento to crack down on something that has become a scourge on our roadways – texting while driving. According to a KCRA news report, some legislators are insisting that now is the time to step up penalties that can help change people’s behavior in this regard. Currently, the base fine in California for texting and driving is $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second violation with potential additional penalties.
How This New Law Can Help
A proposed legislation, however, would make texting and driving a lot more costly for offenders. Assembly Bill 47 would punish individuals who text and drive by adding a point to their driving record. Assembly Member Jim Frazier, who authored this bill, said his motivation comes in part from the loss of his daughter.
She was driving on Highway 50 when someone hit black ice, crossed the centerline striking the vehicle carrying both his children. His oldest daughter, Stephanie, died in the crash. Even though this was not a distracted driving crash, Frazier said that as the chair of the Assembly’s transportation committee, he wants to make the state’s roads safer.
Supporters of this proposed law say adding a point to the driving record is going to be a solid deterrent. This is because a point on your record could stay there for a long time. And if you get too many points on your license, you could eventually lose it. Even two points can become costly. If you get a second point from a distracted driving violation, your auto insurance premium could increase. If you get a second point, you will no longer be eligible for a “good driver” discount, which could account for up to 20 percent on auto insurance rates.
A Matter of Safety
These steps will hopefully serve as critical incentives to drivers to put their phones away while driving. Texting and driving results in loss of lives and serious injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says texting while driving is like driving the length of a football field at 55 mph – blindfolded. This takes your eye off the roadway from about 4.6 seconds, which is the time it takes to go from one end zone to the other on a football field. A driver could do a lot of damage in that time. Serious injuries or even fatalities could occur.
As California car accident lawyers who represent the rights of injured victims, we hope this legislation passes unopposed. A number of studies show California is one of the worst states when it comes to cell phone use while driving. We need to change that so our roads become safer for all.