California readers already know that texting while driving is illegal no matter the circumstance. The texting ban is a part of a larger effort to curb distracted driving and prevent car and motorcycle accidents that can cause injuries and deaths each year.
Recently texting while driving caused serious injuries for a police officer who was on-duty riding his motorcycle in the Ramona area near San Diego. The officer works for the Chula Vista police department and was leading a training group of 10 other officers when a teen driver rear-ended another car which then collided with the officer's motorcycle.
The driver who caused the accident is a teenager from the area who has a provisional license as a part of California's graduated licensing system. Drivers will unrestricted licenses may use a hands-free system to talk on their cellphones but all drivers are prohibited from texting behind the wheel.
The officer who was injured has several years of experience patrolling on a motorcycle. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but is reportedly in good condition and will make a full recovery.
Drivers who violate the law and cause a car accident may be liable under a theory known as negligence per-se, which allows injured accident victims to reference criminal statutes to prove that a driver was negligent in a civil case. In this case the violation of the texting ban may be used to show that the teenage driver was not exercising reasonable care in preventing a car accident.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, "CHP: Cop hurt in crash caused by texting teen," Teri Figuroa and Susan Shroder, May 29, 2013.