In an effort to save lives and eliminate dangerous behind-the-wheel distractions like talking, texting, or browsing on a cell phone, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Colusa County Sheriff’s Department, City of Williams Police Department and the City of Colusa Police Department have announced high visibility enforcement operations during month long Distracted Driving Awareness pursuit.
April 22 marks for special statewide enforcement for all the allied law enforcement agencies.
These agencies will also be looking for mobile device offenders in their areas on additional days throughout the month.
The increased enforcement aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior.
The “It’s Not Worth It!” theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision. The ticket cost for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is about $162, with subsequent tickets costing about $282.
Distracted driving has become a dangerous epidemic nationwide. In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted.
Nationally, it is estimated 3,328 people died and 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012.
Any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracting, but the recent dramatic rise in cell phone use has greatly increased the number of collisions.
“Any non-driving activity a driver engages in behind the wheel is a potential distraction and increases their risk of being involved in a collision,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, “through education and enforcement, law enforcement is working to change this dangerous and potentially life-threatening behavior.”
According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Even a three second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.
In 2013, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 426,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone.
“Distracted driving is the traffic safety challenge of our generation,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers. “Just as reducing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and increasing seatbelt use required a strong combination of education and enforcement to effect culture change, so too will stopping the current epidemic of distracted driving.”
Impact Teen Drivers’ is an educational program that is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Through its partnership with the California Department of Education, Impact’s program connects with students at schools throughout the state to create long-term behavior and culture change.
To avoid falling victim to distracted driving behaviors, California Highway Patrol have provided drivers with the following tips that can be implemented by any motorist:
- Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode, then put it out of reach while driving
- Record an outgoing message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road
- Adjust controls and set your song playlist before you set out on the road
- If it’s urgent, pull over in a safe place to place a call
- Focus on driving, and avoid eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.