Good news for street safety advocates in California!
Senator Josh Newman introduced legislation today that aims to dramatically reduce the incidence of distracted driving on California roads and highways. Senate Bill 1030 will strengthen current distracted driving penalties by making distracted driving a moving violation and adding a point to the driver's motor vehicle record for electronic device violations.
"Statistics show that not only is distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence, it's also increasingly commonplace," said Senator Josh Newman. "Because of the clear and present danger it poses to other motorists, we need to be penalizing -- and deterring -- distracted driving much as we do driving under the influence or any other dangerous driving behavior. If you're making the choice to put your life and other's lives in danger by reading a text or texting while driving, your driving record should reflect that choice."
SB 1030 aims not only to curb the dangerous behavior but also cut down on the number of deadly crashes caused by distracted driving. Teen drivers especially are at risk and are reported to be distracted almost a quarter of the time they are behind the wheel. In deadly crashes, distracted driving behaviors are among the top 3 factors. Furthermore, according to AAA, distraction currently plays a role in six of ten teen crashes.
Even after AB1785 (distracted driving fine bill) went into effect in January 2017, statistics from the California Highway Patrol show that over 50,000 violations for handling a cell phone while driving were given in 2017 alone. In addition, 47,364 violations were given for driving while holding and talking on a cell phone. As a consequence, the strengthening of the penalty for violations from an administrative fine to a moving violation, with an impact on insurance coverage and rates, makes sense for deterring dangerous driving behavior.
If this measure is passed, California would join seven other states to add a point violation to a driver's record for distracted driving, including Alabama, Colorado, D.C., Nebraska, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin.
How can you help push this through? A press conference is coming soon and more word on how is coming soon... stay tuned.