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Assembly Bill 1785

Assembly Bill 1785

Assembly Bill 1785

I’m Ed Smith, a Corning auto accident attorney. California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1785 into law in September of this year, and it is set to go into effect on January 1, 2017. The goal of the new law is to further reduce cell phone usage while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

What is the Current Law?

In short, the current law prohibits motorists from using a cell phone to read, write, or send text-based messages while behind the wheel of a vehicle. The current law allows a person to use speech to text function or hands-free operation but does not include limits as to how a motorist goes about doing so.

AB 1785

California State Assemblymember, Bill Quirk, sponsored Assembly Bill 1785. The goal of the bill is to further increase the safety of the public by limiting the usage of mobile devices while behind the wheel. The new law, which goes into effect Sunday, January 1, 2017, prohibits any driver of a motor vehicle to hold their mobile phone, even if it is in hands-free mode while operating the vehicle. The driver must have their mobile device mounted to their dashboard or windshield. A driver will only be allowed to use his or her finger to activate or deactivate a feature on their mobile device if it can be done with a single tap or swipe.

What is Distracted Driving?

 Distracted driving is a broad term covering a multitude of actions, such as:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the Phone
  • Reading
  • Reaching for an object
  • Applying makeup
  • Eating or Drinking

The National Highway Safety Administration conducted a study that shows that 80% of all accidents and nearly 65% of all ‘almost’ accidents included some sort of distracted driving. Cell phone usage while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is one of the leading causes of distracted driving auto accidents. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)’s data reveals that from 2003-2011 there were 4,311 fatal accidents caused by a driver using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. In 2015 alone, DMV figures show that there were over 500 injuries and over 700 property damage claims from distracted driving.

Are There Penalties?

Yes. Drivers who are caught violating the new law will have to pay a $20 fine for their first offense. The fine will jump up to $50 if they are caught violating the law a second time. The fines you could face if you are involved in a distracted driving accident resulting in injuries to another person are far greater.

Corning Auto Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Corning auto accident attorney. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries due to the negligent actions of another party, call my office at (530) 392-9400 or toll-free at (800)404-5400 for free, friendly advice. I have been assisting families of Corning, California with their wrongful death and personal injury cases for over 3 decades.

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