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Distracted driving car crash statistics in california


Distracted driving is a serious problem all over the country, with 3,142 people killed in distracted driving-related motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2019. In California, despite new cell phone laws, distracted driving still remains a serious problem that endangers other motorists.

Distracted driving involves any type of activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. While distracted driving is often associated with cell phone use, there are many other types of activities that drivers participate in when they should be focusing on the road. Unfortunately, when a driver takes their eyes off the road for just one second, it can result in a fatal motor vehicle crash.

Car Crash Statistics in California Provided by The COTS and The NHTSA

Distracted driving involves anything that takes a motorist’s focus, hands, and eyes away from the road. This can include activities such as texting, talking on the phone, speaking with a passenger, eating, drinking, or playing with the radio. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (COTS), in 2019, 8.7% of all fatal crashes were due to distracted driving.

The NHTSA also referred to as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided a report involving accident statistics for distracted driving deaths. The report showed that 9% of fatal car accidents in 2017 were related to distracted driving, with 3,166 people killed.

Accident Fatalities for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Additionally, in 2017, 599 people who were fatally injured by distracted driving accidents were not occupants of the vehicles involved in the accidents. This includes bicycle and pedestrian deaths.

New California Cell Phone Traffic Laws to Prevent Distracted Driving Accident Deaths

In 2020, to reduce the number of distracted driving accident deaths a new law was passed that went into effect on July 1, 2021. This law involves harsher punishments for distracted drivers.

The California distracted driving law, or 23123.5(a) VC, prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic wireless communication devices and telephones unless the device is configured to allow hands-free and voice-operated operation.

Cell phones are okay to use when in the hands-free or voice-activated mode, if the phone is mounted in the vehicle, in an area that doesn’t require a motorist to take their eyes off the road and does not block their view of the road.

However, handheld use is permitted for emergency calls requesting emergency services, including calls to a medical provider, fire department, or law enforcement.

Penalties for Distracted Driving in California

The penalties for handheld cell phone use in California are as follows:

  • For the first offense, drivers will be fined $20. The base fine does not include additional assessments and fees and may be significantly higher
  • Drivers will be fined $50 for each subsequent offense
  • If a distracted driving ticket is not paid, the motorist can be found guilty of failure to appear in court. A failure to appear in court for a traffic citation can result in a fine of up to $1000 or six months in county jail.

Other Causes of Fatal Accidents in California

In California, other causes of deadly crashes include:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Impaired driving/drunk driving
  • Driver error
  • Inexperienced driver

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident

If you were involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, after seeking medical attention, your next step should be to contact a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you file an auto insurance claim and guide you through the entire legal process. Filing a claim after this type of crash will allow you to recover physical, financial, and emotional damages. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances are of receiving a fair settlement.

Contact MVP Accident Attorneys Today to Schedule a Free, No-Obligation Consultation

After an accident, if you sustained injuries, you may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, unable to return to work, and struggling financially. You should never have to pay for medical treatment or other accident-related damages out of pocket if you were involved in a collision that was not your fault. Taking legal action as soon as possible can not only increase your chances of receiving fair compensation, but it can also help you receive your settlement faster. If you were involved in an auto accident with a distracted driver, contact MVP Accident Attorneys, a Sachs Law Company, today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney in your area. Our experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyers will go above and beyond to ensure you receive every penny of compensation you deserve.


brett sachs2
Brett Sachs

Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.

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