License Points For Distracted Driving (AB 47, Daly; 2019)
Distracted driving means driving when you don’t have your complete focus on the crucial task of driving safely and can encompass seemingly harmless behaviors that become dangerous if done while driving. Take for example using a cell phone in a handheld manner, which is currently punishable by a fine.
However, beginning July 1, 2021, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to the driver’s record. This will also apply to the violations of talking or texting while driving (except for hands-free use) and to any use of these devices while driving by a person under 18 years of age.
Other examples of distracted include:
- Smoking related activity
- Eating or drinking
- Looking at something outside of the car
- Looking at other passengers in car
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. On average, it takes about five seconds to send or read a text. That’s five seconds during which your eyes are not focused on the road. If you’re driving on the freeway at the very reasonable speed of 55 mph, that’s comparable to closing your eyes while driving across the entire length of a football field.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,841 lives in 2018 alone were claimed because of distracted driving. Among those killed: 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that, on average, nine people are killed every day in the U.S. because of a distracted driver. More than 1,000 people are injured yearly in car accidents involving a distracted driver.
Current cell phone laws already impact violators in a dramatic way. In California, even a single ticket may impact insurance rates. Following a citation for illegal phone use, premiums increase an average of 45%.