Newly Proposed CA Law Could Increase Penalties for Texting While Driving

Newly Proposed CA Law Could Increase Penalties for Texting While Driving

In a classic case of “legislative creep,” the California legislature is about to make cell telephone and texting violations result in a point on your driver’s license.  Back in 2005-2006, when California’s “hands-free” law was enacted, the politicians sold it to the public by saying to the effect of, “Well it is not a point violation, so it is like a parking ticket. Just pay the fine and it is finished.”

Fast forward through 12 years of insurance industry lobbying and here comes California Assembly Bill 47 (AB 47).

This newly proposed state law could have a much bigger impact on offenders, affecting someone’s driving record for quite a few years. And the auto insurance industry could not be happier.

The Impact of Assembly Bill 47

The proposed law, Assembly Bill 47, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), would place a point to a violator’s driving record for texting while driving. Current driving offenses that carry the same penalty include running a red light or a stop sign, causing an accident, and speeding. Points generally stay on an individual’s driving record for a period of three years.

Points can also have a large impact on an individual’s car insurance premium. Though it depends on a case-by-case basis, insurance companies tend to view tickets as an indication that you are a riskier driver. In populous areas of California, you will pay up to $600 more per vehicle per year for every two points and you will pay $300 more per vehicle per year for every point on your driving record. This could end up being quite costly in the long-run.

The proposed harsher penalty is already garnering support from individuals in law enforcement, who believe that the current laws in place have not served to deter the general population from continuing to engage in risky behavior.  Of course, the California legislature specifically exempted California peace officers from the cell/texting laws.

According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes an individual’s eyes off of the road for five seconds. If a car is going at a speed of 55mph, this equates to driving the entire length of a football field without looking. The latest California state transportation data shows that in 2013 alone, more than 422,000 citations were issued to motorists for texting while driving.

If the law successfully passes, it will take effect beginning in 2021.

Cheap Traffic Attorneys Can Help

If you or a loved one has received a ticket for a driving offense, including texting while driving, it can majorly impact your life for a long period of time. In fact, if you receive four points within a rolling 12-month period, you will receive an automatic six-month license suspension. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney who understands all about police and traffic court operations.

As a former police officer, Mr. Pearson may save you time and money by contesting a traffic ticket in order to avoid increased points or insurance premiums. Lowering a ticket violation when permitted by jurisdiction can make a big difference. To learn more about traffic violations and to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 310-945-5655 today!