Capitol Alert

Text and drive in California and you could get a point on your license

Trying to understand why distracted drivers think they can multitask

Most people are aware of the dangers of trying to multitask while driving, but most continue to do it anyway.
Up Next
Most people are aware of the dangers of trying to multitask while driving, but most continue to do it anyway.

Texting and driving is a bad idea. Not only can it result in accidents ― the National Safety Council estimates that texting contributed to 341,000 vehicle crashes in 2013 ― but it’s illegal as well, an infraction punishable by fines of up to $50.

But existing law doesn’t go far enough to deter distracted drivers, according to Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley. He announced a bill this week that would add a point to a driver’s license for being caught on a cellphone while driving. 

“The punishment for using a phone in violation of the law while driving is far too lenient,” Frazier said in a Thursday press conference.

Drivers receive points on their licenses for vehicle code violations, such as reckless driving and at-fault accident convictions. The points are public records, and they can lead to license suspensions or cause someone to face more expensive vehicle insurance rates. 

If passed into law, Assembly Bill 47 would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Frazier said the state cracks down harder on littering than on those who drive while distracted with a cellphone.

“It only takes an instant of distraction to kill yourself or somebody else,” Frazier said in a Thursday press conference.

Frazier said his daughter was killed in a head-on collision caused by black ice.

“The pain of losing a loved one is something I would never wish on anybody,” he said.

Also speaking in support of AB47 Thursday was actor Erik Estrada, who said “For me, it’s a very important thing, for I have a teenage daughter who drives all the time.”

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


  Comments