Given the number of people who are injured and lose their lives in a motor vehicle accident every year, road safety is a common topic of discussion in California. Often, there are similar factors that arise and cause accidents. Legislators and law enforcement seek to mitigate these dangers by recommending and implementing new laws with safety in mind.
With the start of 2021, laws have gone into effect to make the state roads safer. Drivers should be aware of these new laws and try to adhere to them. Still, it is an unfortunate reality that many auto accidents happen because drivers do not follow the law. After a collision, it is important to understand how to seek compensation for what was lost.
“Move Over, Slow Down” is expanded
There was already a “Move Over, Slow Down” law in place for freeways, but it has been expanded for 2021. With the law as it stood, drivers were required to change lanes or reduce speed when they approached a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) vehicle, an emergency vehicle with its lights activated, or a tow truck.
The law has been expanded to include local roads and streets. Because workers and people in stalled or damaged vehicles are in jeopardy when they are on the side of any road, this law is believed to be a way to encourage drivers – wherever they are – to follow basic safety practices and avoid a potentially deadly collision.
Distracted driving addressed with increased penalties
There are current laws in place to dissuade drivers from committing one of the riskiest behaviors on the road: distracted driving. Since there are so many ways in which people can multitask and stay involved in various activities, whether that is emailing, sending text messages, surfing the web, making phone calls, using social media and more, this has led to dangers on the roadways. Along with driving under the influence, speeding and general recklessness, distracted driving is leaping to the top of the statistics for ways in which motor vehicle accidents occur.
The new laws with more substantial penalties will go into effect on July 1. Until then, the old laws are in place. Until July, drivers who are texting or talking on a handheld device will be fined. For those under 18, any use of the device results in a fine. Starting July 1, anyone caught a second time violating the law with a handheld device, after the first offense occurred in the previous 36 months, will receive a point on their driver’s license.
Prevention and adherence can keep everyone safe
It should go without saying that drivers are expected to follow the law when driving. In addition, it can improve general road safety to use common sense that it is dangerous to take one’s eyes off the road to check a device or to drive at the same speed and in the same lane as an upcoming emergency vehicle. Despite laws being put in place and amended to encourage people to maintain safe practices and penalize those who do not, accidents will unfortunately continue to occur.
After a crash, people can face lifelong challenges in myriad ways, including physically, emotionally and financially. For guidance on how to proceed in recovering compensation for all that was lost, it might be beneficial to consult with experienced and caring legal professionals. This can help with investigating the case, gathering evidence and taking the necessary steps to pursue a claim.