According to a survey conducted by AAA and the Auto Club of Southern California, texting while driving incidents have tripled since the practice was banned statewide two years ago. According to the Auto Club, they went around through Southern California neighborhoods and downtown in 2009 and found about 1.4% of distracted drivers either texting or operating a smart phone.
Conducting the same study this year, the number has nearly tripled despite ongoing public education about the dangers of texting while driving. Steve Finnegan, the Auto Club’s government affairs manager, released a statement this week concerning the issue.
“Current penalties for texting while driving in the Golden State haven’t deterred the behavior,” Finnegan said in the statement. Thirty-four states, including California and Washington D.C. have banned texting while driving and the use of smart phones.
The fine in California for a first time offender is $20 and $50 for the second time. The Auto Club says that the proposed increase in penalty could increase the fines to $114-$143 for the first offense and $279 for the second. No points are added onto a driver’s license for the infraction.
“This is unfortunate, since research shows that imposing points increases driver compliance with traffic safety laws,” Finnegan said.
Some local drivers think that the habit is unavoidable, according to Patch.com.
“Texting is part of this generation,” says Armando Compean.
According to the California Highway Patrol, approximately 15,000 citations are handed out monthly for texting or using a smart phone while driving.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego car accident attorney.