Drivers increasingly used their cellphones in California in 2018 over the prior year.
 - Photo via CalAmp.

Drivers increasingly used their cellphones in California in 2018 over the prior year.

Photo via CalAmp.

An observational survey conducted by California's Office of Traffic Safety finds that cell phone use while driving in the state increased to 4.5% in 2018 from 3.6% in 2017, reports the Sacramento Bee.

However, the numbers are significantly lower than 2016, when 7.6% of motorists were seen using their phones.

One key finding from the latest survey is that the highest percentage of people using cell phones while behind the wheel were driving solo. In fact, drivers who were alone in their vehicles were eight times more likely to use their phones as compared with those who had passengers, notes the report.

The survey also found that drivers were more likely to use their cell phones while driving on local roads versus highways. Moreover, they were typically performing functions such as texting as opposed to talking on the phone.

While talking on a cell phone became illegal over a decade ago in the state, 2017 brought with it stricter distracted driving legislation.

Specifically, Californians are banned from any handheld use at all of cell phones, like texting or reading messages and maps. Motorists are limited to using mounted phones and only with one touch or a single swipe, reports the Bee.

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