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What can you do if you see someone texting and driving?

We live in a society saturated with new and improved technology. It’s easy for constant beeps, vibrations and notifications to distract someone. Every time you drive on California roadways, there’s a likelihood you’ll see someone texting and driving. This is an illegal action, and when others drive distracted, they endanger you and other motor vehicle drivers.

Younger teenagers and adults are oftentimes the culprits for texting while driving. According to the California Statewide Observational Survey of Cell Phone & Texting Use by Drivers, people between the ages of 16 and 24 are most likely to text and drive. You may frequently ask yourself if there’s anything you can do when you see a person texting and driving.

Would calling 9-1-1 help?

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) encourages you to call 9-1-1 if you suspect a drunk driver on the road. Are the same actions encouraged in instances of texting and driving? While you may report a driver you believe is texting and driving, it could be difficult for law enforcement to punish those suspected. To give someone an infraction for texting while driving, highway patrol or police must catch an individual in the act.

This differs from reporting a drunk driver who’s still under the influence when approached by law enforcement. Although both are illegal, driving under the influence poses more serious consequences than texting and driving. The current penalty in California for texting while driving is a $100-$150 fine. With each additional offense, the fine increases.

There’s no doubt both distracted driving and driving under the influence are dangerous to you and everyone else on California roadways. Car crashes will always exist and can lead to tragedies and catastrophic injuries. You aren’t responsible for another person’s actions, but you can hold them accountable if their poor decisions result in a car accident that injures you. 

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