Palm Springs and Orange County Cell Phone Accident Attorney
Palm Springs and Orange County Cell Phone Personal Injury Lawyer Sebastian Gibson
The Right Choice in Cell Phone Car Accident Personal Injury Attorneys in California
On January 1, 2017 a new law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown goes into effect which may greatly affect personal injury cases from Palm Springs to Newport Beach, throughout the Coachella Valley, Orange County and up and down the state of California.
As the law currently stands, it is a violation of the California vehicle code to use a cell phone to text someone, or to use a cell phone to make a call if the call is not made hands free. However, it is not a violation to use a cell phone for functions such as programing Google Maps or Apple Maps or any GPS function to determine the best route to a person’s destination.
However, beginning January 1st, 2017, if you’ve been in an accident and either you or the other driver was found to be using a cell phone to make a call that wasn’t hands free, were texting or were using a cell phone for any other function other than a function that requires only the motion of a single swipe or tap of the finger on a cell phone mounted on the windshield or dashboard, the driver using their cell phone may be found to be wholly or partially at fault for the accident.
The New 2017 California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5
The new California law restricting cell phone use in cars was designed to further reduce the number of auto accidents and injuries caused by the use of cell phones. Starting January 1, 2017, it will be a violation of the California vehicle code not simply if a driver texts someone while driving but in many other instances.
Section 23123.5 of the Vehicle Code, prohibits drivers from holding and operating cell phones for any reason other than for functions that require only the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, and only if the devices are actually mounted in some type of holder on the vehicle’s windshield or on the dashboard.
Drivers will still be allowed to use their cell phones to make a call so long as it is done in a hands free mode. However, beginning in 2017, if drivers want to operate their phones while driving and actually touch their phone for any reason, their phones will need to actually be mounted in a holder on the vehicle’s windshield or on the dashboard, and the only actions a driver may make to their phone is a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
However, with the new law part of the California vehicle code beginning January 1st, 2017, California personal injury lawyers as well as the police agencies and CHP who investigate traffic accidents will be required to determine if any of the drivers involved in an accident, whether it’s a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, bicycle accident or a wrongful death, were in violation of Section 23123.5 in order to assess responsibility for that accident.
An Analysis of the New California Cell Phone Law by California Cell Phone Personal Injury Lawyer Sebastian Gibson
Say you’ve been in a car accident in Palm Springs, Palm Desert or Newport Beach. When the accident occurred, both you and the other driver were operating your cell phones.
If you were making a hands free call on your cell phone, that won’t affect your liability for the accident. If you were the cause of the accident by rear ending someone or running a red light for instance, the fact that you weren’t in violation of the new cell phone law won’t affect your liability. You’re still at fault.
If you were not negligent in your driving, the fact that you were using your cell phone in a hands free mode to call someone, you’re not at fault. But if you were texting someone or using your cell phone in your hand, you may be found to be at fault for the accident for inattention by virtue of your violation of Vehicle Code Section 23123.5.
Similarly if the other driver wasn’t negligent and was simply making a call on their cell phone in hands free mode when the auto, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident occurred, they likely won’t be found at fault for the accident.
However, if they were using their cell phone to text, or for any other function and the function required more than a tap or a swipe of the finger on their cell phone, even if it was mounted on their dash or windshield, they may be found at fault for the accident.
Will Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 Create A Demand for Cell Phone Mounts for Windshields and Dashboards?
While safety advocates and the CHP applaud the new law, it’s arguable the new law won’t significantly create a huge demand for cell phone mounts on windshields and dashboards. At least not initially. It may not even have much affect in the long term unless fines for using cell phones are much more frequently enforced. To the extent it does create a demand, it may unfortunately be to take advantage of what appears to be a loophole in the new law.
Teenager Cell Phone Car Accidents and Injuries in California
The number of teenagers who will rush to buy a product on Amazon to have their cell phone mounted on their windshield will most likely only be a very small number. The fear of most teenagers of looking like a dork for the most part far exceeds any fear they may have of being in a car accident. Unfortunately, it is that segment of drivers that all safety experts know are more prone to causing a car accident while using their cell phones.
Will California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 Make You Paranoid?
One suspects the intention of the legislators who drafted the new law was to make all drivers, including teenagers, much more paranoid about using their cell phones to talk other than in a hands free mode or to text and now for nearly any function, not only when they see a police car ahead, behind, or pulling up alongside them, but at all times. This effort will probably be successful.
A Loophole in the New California Cell Phone Law
The new law seems to have a major defect in its attempt to discourage cell phone use. The law states that the law excludes functions that require the motion of a single swipe of the driver’s finger. One has to wonder if the legislators who drafted this law were completely unaware of Tinder, the dating app in which you can like or reject someone’s looks for the purpose of meeting up with them with the single swipe of one’s finger.
Additionally, the legislators who drafted this law seem to have failed to consider how fast cell phone app developers are able to modify their apps so cell phone owners can play games, read the news or even watch their friends on FaceTime now with the single swipe of a finger on their cell phones. By virtue of having their cell phones mounted on one’s dash or windshield, this may in fact make it all the more entertaining, especially to teenagers, and all the more distracting.
California Cell Phone Accidents and Injuries
In places such as Palm Springs, Newport Beach or really anywhere in the Coachella Valley, Orange County and throughout California, Palm Springs personal injury lawyers and Orange County car accident attorneys see far too many catastrophic injuries and deaths from car, truck and motorcycle accidents, not to mention all too frequent injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists caused by drivers using their cell phones. It’s all too clear that cell phones are a major distraction to drivers.
But if the fines for using a cell phone while driving are to be evaluated for their affect on auto accidents, one has to suspect there the affect on California accidents and personal injury cases may be negligible.
Fines for the New California Cell Phone Law
The initial fine for use in violation of the new vehicle code section is $20. The fine goes up to $50 for every subsequent violation. Will that cause drivers to think twice before using their cell phones other than in the prescribed manner. It’s doubtful. While a fine of $20 to $50 can be a severe hardship for a person scraping to get by, drivers rarely think about their bank account balance while driving.
Frequent Use of Cell Phones in the Coachella Valley and Orange County
In the Coachella Valley where there are large music festivals occurring annually such as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Stagecoach and now Desert Trip, and other events such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells, teenage and young adult drivers widely use their cell phones as they operate their cars.
In Orange County where there is a population of millions and thousands of restaurants, bars and nightclubs to choose from in popular coastal cities such as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, drivers are accustomed to using their cell phones not simply in a hands free mode, but to locate the places they are going to, the fastest or the shortest route, or to even scan their Facebook page while sitting at a red light.
Call Palm Springs and Orange County Cell Phone Accident Attorney Sebastian Gibson
Sebastian Gibson has been named a Top Lawyer by Palm Springs Life Magazine for the past 6 years in a row. He has also been rated a “Superb” lawyer by Avvo (their highest rating) which rates attorneys all across the U.S.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a cell phone car accident in California and have sustained serious injuries, call Cell Phone Accident Attorney Sebastian Gibson in Palm Springs and Orange County at (760) 776-1810 for a free consultation with Sebastian Gibson by phone about your accident.
All cell phone auto, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle accident cases as well as wrongful deaths are taken on a contingency fee basis where we advance all fees and costs of your case. If we’re not successful in obtaining compensation by way of a settlement or award, you pay us nothing.
With offices in Palm Desert and Newport Beach, we serve all of California throughout the Coachella Valley, all of Orange County and from San Diego to San Francisco. Learn more about Sebastian Gibson by exploring our new website at www.SebastianGibsonLaw.com or by sending us an email at SgibsonEsq@aol.com