$12.4 Million Aviation Business Litigation
Celestial v. Associated Air Center
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
In an Effort to Curb Distracted Driving, California Implements SB 194
Currently, no driver can use an electronic communication device to talk or send or receive messages while they are driving in California. The only exception is if their device is equipped with hands free technology. For drivers under 18, there are no exceptions: these drivers cannot use any electronic devices at all while operating a motor vehicle. This represents an effort to minimize distractions for these inexperienced drivers. Now Senate Bill 194, which was signed into law in October and is now being enforced, goes even one step further. Because of the proliferation of wireless and touch screen devices and the integration of Internet connectivity within automobiles, California State Senator Cathleen Galgiani, and other safety advocates, supported this bill meant to curb distracted driving even more aggressively. Now drivers 18 and under can use absolutely no wireless electronic devices while driving. This includes voice activated technologies such as Siri or Internet enabled car devices with wireless technologies built in. According to Galgiani, these steps had to be taken because "Even though teens may not be manually distracted, they could be visually or cognitively distracted by using Siri, Bluetooth, and touch-screen technologies" (Brown signs teen driving bill).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, approximately "421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011" and "11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted." Though it is too early to tell if this law will be successful, perhaps it will lead to less distracted driving and safer streets for all drivers in California.