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California’s Primary Texting Law Sees Increased Enforcement

By Kelly Balamuth on October 26, 2011

For Californians, text messaging or using any handheld device while operating a vehicle has been a primary offense since 2009. Recent data shows that the law has yielded results in terms of heightened enforcement for the offense.

Data from the California Office of Traffic Safety shows that there were 7,924 texting citations in 2010. The number of citations is almost triple the amount observed in the year before, when the state enacted the law prohibiting texting while driving. Primary texting laws enable law enforcement to pull over drivers for texting alone, while secondary laws require an officer to have another reason (such as speeding) that prompts further investigation.

A representative told USA Today that the huge jump in texting citations for California was most likely a result of increased enforcement, and that the trend would probably continue due to increasing efforts on the issue. Officials say that texting ranks among the most dangerous driving risks. This epidemic of distracted driving causes nearly 450,000 accidents resulting in injuries on a yearly basis; it’s estimated that around 20 percent of all highway accidents involve distracted driving. And those numbers are growing.

In more comments to USA Today, a spokesperson for the DMV in New York reminded the public that prior to primary seat belt laws, few people buckled up. Now, over 90 percent of drivers and passengers are estimated to use seat belts. Let’s look for the same degree of positive change in the years to come with efforts to fight distracted driving.

Have you or a family member been injured in an accident involving distracted driving? Contact the Bay Area vehicle crash lawyers with Balamuth Harrington at (888) 254-1234 for a complimentary case review.

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