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CA Survey: Driving While Intoxicated Not Feared As Much As Phone Use

cellphone2.jpgCalifornians now believe that drivers who text or talk on their cell phone, with or without a hands free headset, are a bigger hazard on the road than drunk driving, speeding, and aggressive driving. This is according to a traffic safety survey completed by the California Office of Traffic Safety, which polled 1,801 drivers over the age of 18 in 15 counties in California.

The percentage of drivers who are worried about others using cell phones while driving rose from 18.3 percent in 2010 to 38.8 in 2011. Second on the list this year was driving while impaired with 12.6 percent of the vote. This was up from 10.1 percent in 2010. Last year, drivers were most concerned about speeding/aggressive driving and bad roads.

When asked about the biggest distraction for drivers, the percentage of those polled who believe cell phone talking and texting is considered the most distracting is up to 83.6 percent. This is up from 75 percent last year.

The OTS also stated in April 2011, that a driver’s reaction is delayed as much when using a cell phone as when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at the legal limit of .08.

Many auto accidents involve a driver that is either texting or talking on the phone but the data linking accidents and cell phone use is inconclusive. Police officers often see a car that is driving on the shoulder, weaving, or driving well below the posted speed limit. The officer pulls the car over thinking they need to conduct a DUI investigation. However, once contact is made with the driver, the officer realizes that the driver is not drunk, they were talking on their phone, writing a text, or reading something online.

California Highway Patrol Officer D.J. Sarabia agreed with the survey, saying that the number one distraction for drivers is cell phone use, according to mercurynews.com.

California has had a hands-free law, (Vehicle Code Section 23123), since 2008. Since that time, CHP has issued about 475,000 tickets for violating the statute. It is estimated that local law enforcement agencies have issued about the same number of citations.

Car accidents kill and injure many people every year. Help make our roadways safer. Use your phone before or after you drive.


If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, hire an exclusively DUI defense firm that will aggressively defend your case. Do not just plead guilty even if you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of .08%. There may still be defenses in your case that can lead to reduced charges with less punishment, or even a dismissal! For a free, confidential consultation, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.