Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

California drivers still texting despite law

California drivers are still sending text messages from behind the wheel, despite a state law banning the practice, according to an Auto Club study released Wednesday.

The survey, which sampled 4,000 vehicles in Orange County, found that 2.7% of motorists were observed texting at any given time. That's twice the rate surveyed in January 2009, when the state's ban went into effect.

Auto Club officials said the figures show the need for better enforcement of the law and higher penalties for those who violate it.

Drivers who are caught texting are fined $20 for a first offense, and no points are assessed to the driver's record.

A bill, SB1475, designed to strengthen the texting-while-driving ban by increasing penalties, including adding a point to driving records, was recently defeated in the Legislature.

In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes caused by distracted drivers -- many of whom were texting, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

-- Kate Linthicum

Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (55)

California has really screwed things up, number one, by allowing drivers who use hands-free phones to continue to talk and drive the rate of accidents has not decreased. We need to adopt the same strict no phone use AT ALL as Washington state. If anyone needs to talk on the phone, pull over. Otherwise you endanger everyone on the road.

Until they put some financial bite in the fine for doing so....the incentive to comply is minimal.

see it every day along with the cell phones.......not worth killing someone or yourself and ruining lives

Fines should be tripled (at least) and police need to start enforcing the law. This goes for people driving around with a cell phone stuck up to their heads, too. I see this offense every single day and I'm on the road for only a small fraction of the time that a police officer would be. In theory, therefore, a police officer should be seeing it much more often than I am. It's simply not being enforced. If it's a question of too much time for too little return, quadrupling the fines should help. Simple.

oooooh. $20. That's a lot of money. I guess that's all a life is worth. 40,000 deaths from automobiles alone per year. More than the Mexican drug war. Think about it.

« | 1 2 3


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: