California – July 21, 2021

California has had distracted driving laws on the books since 2008, and they support case building for negligence against drivers whose use of a cell phone may have contributed to a motor vehicle accident in San Diego.  The laws were meant to discourage drivers holding of a wireless telephone, or electronic communication device while operating a vehicle, and if the driver is under the age of 18, handsfree devices are not even allowed. Victims of accidents involving irresponsible driver actions that violate distracted driving laws should contact  accident attorneys who can guide actions toward damage recovery from insurance and court actions.

Increased penalty for distracted driving.

While the existing law prohibits a driver’s use of a wireless telephone, unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used handsfree while driving, current convictions and violations regarding electronic devices have not been associated with the point system against the driver’s record that would result in suspension, or revocation of their license to drive.  The new bill allows for points to be counted against a driver’s record if they have electronic device violations that occur within 36 months of the same offense.

Assembly Bill 47, which was passed by a majority vote and approved by Governor Gavin Newsom, strengthens California’s existing distracted driving law effective July 1, 2021. Under the old law, motorists who used a handheld mobile phone while driving faced fines but no penalty points. Under AB 47, a second offense within a three-year period would lead to one penalty point being added to their driving records which could subsequently lead to license suspensions and revocations.

Car Insurance.

California law requires that drivers have a way to cover costs related to damages or injuries caused in a car accident. Purchasing liability car insurance is the simplest and most common way people choose to meet this requirement.

The minimum amount of liability insurance drivers must carry is:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Under California law, everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an accidental injury to another, and insurance damage compensation will be adjusted in accordance with a percentage of fault assigned to each driver.  If the accident was caused due to breaking distracted driving laws, the percentage of fault may be reflected in the compensation for the automobile accident case, including property and bodily injuries.  A California car accident attorney can explain how this process will impact driver licensure in the state.

Hire an attorney.

Seek legal counsel immediately after accidents where a driver was ignoring the California “hands-free” cell phone laws.  Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, who specialize in automobile accident laws in San Diego California may be able to offer some valuable information toward legal action.


Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation
501 West Broadway, Suite 1650
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-233-8021
Fax: 619-233-3730



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