New California Distracted Driving Law

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September 30, 2016
Edward Smith

New Distracted Driving Law in California

The governor of the State of California, Jerry Brown, put his signature on a new bill Monday. The goal of the bill is to restrict drivers from using their smartphones while behind the wheel.

Assembly Bill 1785

Bill Quirk, a California State Assemblymember, sponsored the new bill to reassure the safety of all motorists on the roadway. Assembly Bill 1785, is a state law with an extensive list of restrictions for motorists distracted by their electronic devices. There is already a preexisting law in California that bans the use of smartphones for calling and texting while behind the wheel. However, AB 1785 restricts all smartphone device use while driving and additional loopholes that are subject to counterarguments.

Effective January 1, 2017

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2017. With the new law comes renewed hope that no one will have to die or be injured by a distracted driver.

Statistics on Distracted Driving

  • There are about 2,758 traffic deaths every year in California according to the California Highway Patrol.
  • About 18% of all fatal car wrecks are caused by distractions, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Reading a message received via text while driving involves a high degree of visual, manual, and mental distraction.
  • When someone looks at a text while driving it takes their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds (source:
  • You can drive the approximate length of a football field in the time it takes to read a text.
  • A vehicle driving 55 miles per hour covers a little more than  80 feet in one second. (80′ x 4.6 seconds = 368′. The length of a football field is 360 feet).

AB 1785 Purpose

The purpose of AB 1785 is to keep drivers focused on the road in order to prevent accidents.

AB 1785 Penalties

There will be a penalty cost for drivers that are found violating AB 1785. The first penalty if caught driving while using a handheld device is $20. The second penalty after the first offense is $50.

Watch YouTube Video – Distracted Driving – It’s Like Driving Blind, by Ed Smith.

Distracted Driving Defined

Distracted driving includes drivers that are found using their smartphone, reaching for an object inside the vehicle, looking at objects or events taking place outside of the vehicle, reading, and applying makeup.

According to California DMV statistics for our state in the year of 2015 include 12 fatal crashes, 500 injuries, and 700 property damage accidents linked to the use of handheld electronics.

According to a National Highway Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, 80% of all accidents and 65% of all near-accidents include some type of distracted driving.

Roseville Auto Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville Auto Accident Attorney. If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who was texting while driving, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. I may also be contacted toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for fast, free, and friendly advice.

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