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What are California's distracted driving laws?

If you are a motorist in California, you need to understand the state’s distracted driving laws. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the state has banned handheld device use for all drivers, making it a primary offense. California has also prohibited any local jurisdiction from creating its own policy.

The state does permit the use of hands-free devices; however, drivers who are younger than 18 may not use a wireless communication device of any kind. Studies have shown that even hands-free devices can be distracting. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that found that voice-activated devices still take a driver’s attention away from the task at hand, creating a heightened risk for accidents.

Distracted driving in California and across the country is a serious issue. The behavior killed more than 3,300 people in 2012 and caused more than 420,000 injuries, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Despite these real risks, many drivers continue to use handheld devices while driving. The California Office of Traffic Safety notes that nearly 70 percent of drivers who participated in a survey stated that they had either been involved in a distracted driving accident or nearly hit by someone who was either talking or texting.

Before getting behind the wheel, experts recommend putting your phone in a place where you will not be tempted to reach for it. After all, delaying a conversation is preferable to causing a tragic event.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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