California Distracted Driving Laws
Commercial fleets always work hard to comply with laws and regulations and TRUCE has a technology solution for companies that are trying to adhere to the California distracted driving laws.
Government laws and regulations commonly find themselves behind when it comes to addressing the risks of new technology. The have a role to protect the public from negative consequences of even new technology advances. Adopting new laws and regulations around texting and driving is one such challenge for governments. The public is not ignorant to the risks. In a recent survey, more than half of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting while driving.
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is very clear and specifically defines what it means by “distracted driving.” OTS indicates that distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, your hands off the steering wheel and specifically calls out texting and mobile cell phone use while driving.
Initial laws in California prohibited cell phone and electronic wireless device usage among any driver, transit and school bus drivers. The first laws provided exceptions and allowed for the use of the mobile devices for valid emergency or work-related purposes. These early laws, however, were specific to call out that minors, those drivers under the age of 18, were prohibited from using a cell phone or any electronic device at all, regardless of if it was not hand-held, hands-free, Bluetooth, speakerphone, or any other means.
In late 2016, the State of California turned up their laws and penalties considerably. Assembly Bill No. 1785 (AB 1785) expanded the restrictions and prohibited driving while holding a cell phone in your hand for any reason while driving. Hands-free use even required the use of a mounting device to be legal use of the phone. The key purpose of this expanded law is to make the roads and workers on those roads safer.
Now the attention turns to enforcement. If you have a company with vehicles operating in the State of California, you must consider how you are going to protect your workers and your business and comply with this law. An internal company policy that mirrors the State regulations is a good starting point. Then it comes down to using a technology solution to lock the phone down and enforce these distracted driving laws.