There are many San Francisco car accidents caused by distracted drivers who are using cell phones or other portable electronic devices to communicate. Whether a driver is using a portable electronic device, like a smart phone to talk or text, the danger to other drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians is undeniable. California will be one of two states being given federal funds to implement measures that federal motor vehicle safety authorities hope will provide a blueprint to wiping out distracted driving.
California and Delaware will be receiving $2.4 million as part of this pilot program aimed at curbing inattentive driving related to cell phone texting and talking. The state will be using the funds to discourage texting while driving by stepping up enforcement of California’s ban on texting while driving as well as educational campaigns to discourage this high risk driving practice. The program was already tested on a city level in two U.S. cities and achieved substantial reductions in the number of drivers that engaged in texting while driving.
While many people presume that distracted driving is a new problem linked to advances in communication technology, inattentive driving has been a common cause of car accidents and the basis for fault in many car accident cases for decades. To fully appreciate the longstanding of our driving problem, one only needs to consider the case of City of Denver v. Peterson, which establishes a historical framework for this modern day problem. A woman driving a horse and buggy was engaged in a conversation with her passenger. Because she was not paying attention to the road, she did not hear or see two specific warnings of a steam roller. The horse became frightened by the steamroller and caused the buggy to rollover. Both the buggy driver and passenger were ejected from the buggy and seriously injured.
The point of this example is that many people presume that the emergence of cell phones and other electronic gadgets represent the origin of distracted driving collisions. In reality, drivers that do not focus all of their attention on the roadway have been a leading cause of motor vehicle collisions since before the time of automobiles. While the prospects of making San Francisco and Bay Area roadways safer because of this federal program aimed at curbing texting and driving should be lauded, the reality is that there are still a virtually limitless number of driver distractions, including the following:
Eating or Drinking: This is a particularly significant driving distraction because many collisions are caused when drivers spill liquids or condiments into their lap and attempt to clean them up.
Talking to Passengers: As the Peterson case illustrates, conversations with passengers often cause a driver’s perception (visual and hearing) and mind to be distracted from the roadway.
Reaching for Objects: This is another common and longstanding driver distraction. When a driver drops items on the floor of the vehicle, the driver may take his or her eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to pick up the fallen item.
These are just a few examples of common driver distractions that pre-date mobile phones and other electronic gadgets. They should serve as a reminder that even if texting and talking on cell phones is eliminated, the risk of motor vehicle accidents caused by driver inattention will remain a problem. Certainly, measures that take cell phones out of the hands of drivers are a good start given that it is estimated that there are over 650,000 drivers talking on a cell phone when driving at any point in time.
Contact Us For Your Free Initial Consultation
Distracted driving accidents in the Bay Area are especially upsetting because they are entirely preventable. Our San Francisco car accident law firm has handled many serious car accident cases involving distracted drivers. If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has died in a San Francisco distracted driving car accident, you should contact us as soon as possible because critical deadlines apply. We invite you to contact The Law Office of Ian Zimmerman for your free initial consultation. We are open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., speak Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and are available for weekend, evening, home and hospital meetings and visits. We also offer free initial consultations and work exclusively on a contingency fee basis so that you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.