California’s Office of Traffic Safety reports that the state’s well-publicized scheme to write distracted driving traffic tickets has failed to deter drivers from talking on their cellphones. A study by UC-Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center found that cellphone use in California increased by 39% over the last year. Our traffic ticket experts expect that statistic to encourage state and local governments to place a renewed emphasis on the issuance of distracted driving tickets.
Are cellphone users really distracted?
Perhaps drivers disobey the law because the Office of Traffic Safety cannot explain why talking on a cellphone is any more dangerous than applying lipstick, using a battery powered shaver, eating a cheeseburger, or petting a dog while driving.
Texting and internet browsing, which both require a driver to take his or her eyes off the road, pose more plausible safety concerns, but chatting on a phone seems no more distracting than chatting with a passenger.
Most cellphone users require only a quick glance at the phone to answer an incoming call. Drivers spend more time staring at GPS units or the controls on their satellite radios than they spend looking at a ringing cellphone The conventional wisdom is that talking on a cellphone while driving is unsafe, but a study by Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics found that the risk of a crash is no higher when drivers talk on their mobile phones. One of the researchers suggests that drivers actually pay more attention to the road when they talk on cellphones to compensate for the risk that they will be “distracted” by the conversation.
Distracted driving traffic tickets
Of course, legislators and the police never let facts get in the way of an excuse to write more traffic tickets. A Santa Clara County supervisor who championed the distracted law when she was a state senator claims that drivers are ignoring the law because the fines are too low.
Our Traffic ticket experts know that county supervisors are more likely to lobby for higher fines than they are for sensible laws because traffic ticket fines help pay their salaries. The county supervisor also claims that enforcement of distracted driving laws should be a higher priority. Traffic ticket advocates expect municipal officials to push local police officers to write more distracted driving traffic tickets. Politicians will say they are saving lives but they are really raising revenues.
Drivers may deserve a sanction when they negligently cause an accident or seriously endanger a life, but talking on a cellphone is not nearly as dangerous as the public believes it to be. That’s why our traffic ticket experts fight hard on behalf of their clients to get distracted driving tickets dismissed.