Hands Free Devices No Longer an Option for Under-18 Drivers

Posted on November 10, 2014 by

Cellular phones and smartphones may have revolutionized the way people communicate, but their use while driving is a dangerous distraction which can lead to accidents that cause injury and death to motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Approximately 21% of fatal car collisions involving drivers under the age of 18 have been directly linked to the drivers’ use of cellphones.

Texting: A Most Dangerous Distraction

More than a hundred billion text messages are sent in the United States yearly and approximately 660,000 drivers across America are accessing their cellphones to read, write and send text messages at any given moment. Text messaging commands the full attention of the driver.

Younger Drivers at Risk

Teens are particularly at risk of getting involved in texting accidents — government agency Distraction.gov reports that 25% of teens respond to a text at least once every time they drive.

Existing law already prohibits the use of wireless communication devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, while driving but allows the use of hands-free devices. However, studies show that using a hands-free device does not reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.

So with this in mind, California Senate Bill 194 now prohibits teenagers from using wireless communication devices even when they are equipped or configured for hands-free operation.

Important Features of SB 194

  • The new law covers people under 18 years old
  • “Electronic communication device” includes broadband communication devices, mobile radio units, handheld units, laptops with mobile data access, pagers and 2-way messaging devices
  • The prohibition will not apply in emergency situations such as when the device is used to make emergency calls to law enforcers, health care providers, fire department and other emergency service entities
  • Penalty for the first offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent violations

As mobile Internet access devices got more advanced, teenagers are more inclined to use their portable devices to chat, send voice / video messages, take ‘selfies’, take pictures their activities in real-time then update their social network profiles, even while on the road.

The best way to use your phone when traveling is to pull over briefly to read, write, or send text messages, update your social media status, make or answer calls or perform any other activity that requires your full attention.

Accidents on the road can happen to anyone, regardless of whether or not you are at fault. If you or a family member is involved in an accident, it is important to call an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims to ensure your rights to compensation are upheld.

The Law Office of Marvin S. Lanter we have over 2 decades of personal injury law experience and a reputation for friendly and professional commitment to our clients. An initial free consultation can be arranged by calling us today at (310) 276-1142.

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