SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California lawmakers are taking a tough stance on distracted driving. A new bill aims to increase the penalty for using your cell phone behind the wheel.
“Most accidents are caused by distracted driving,” said Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Solano County).
Distracted driving accidents happen more than a thousand times a day in the U.S. Now Frazier is pushing the Golden State to take a tougher stance on the dangerous practice.
“Right now, the base fine for distracted driving is $20, and you compare that to if you litter in the state of California, it’s $1,000,” Frazier said.
But under AB47, using your cell phone while driving would count as one violation point on your record.
“No, no. One point? one whole point?” said Nichelle Broadway. “That’s just a little much!”
To give you some perspective, speeding or running a red light gets you one point and DUI and reckless driving gets you two.
But what does a point on your record really mean?
CBS13 talked to Insurance Broker Javier Maciel at Cost-U-Less insurance and he said one point won’t severely affect your record.
“If you have a point already, then that gets you two points and you’ll lose your good driver discount,” he said.
In his experience, without the good driver discount, your insurance could go up by 20 percent.
We compared a few of the big insurance companies. At State Farm, the good driver discount gets you 20 percent off of your premium. At Geico, it gets you 26 percent off. And at Progressive, it’ll save you 31 percent.
“You know, I’m working two or three jobs just to survive and to have my insurance go up?” Broadway exclaimed. “Yeah, I don’t know about that. I don’t agree.”
But Frazer says it’s a small price to pay compared to the true tragedy that an accident can bring. His 20-year-old daughter Stephanie was killed 18 years ago on the road.
“Every day, every day I miss her,” he told CBS13. “I guess you just have to have lived it to understand that you don’t want others to go through it because it’s not fun. It’s horrible.”
If the bill passes, it would take effect in 2021. On Thursday, Actor Erik Estrada will be joining CHiPS at the Capitol to discuss the new legislation.