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California announces statewide crackdown on texting and handheld cell use


Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Issue 15, Volume 17.


SACRAMENTO - In an effort to eliminate dangerous behind-the-wheel cell phone use and texting, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP), and more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state have announced high visibility enforcement operations during Aprilís National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The overall goal of the increased enforcement is to convince drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this risky behavior. The "Itís Not Worth It!" theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isnít worth a hefty fine or a collision.

"In a few short years, distracted driving has grown to be a nationwide traffic safety concern, and we all need to put forth the effort necessary to put an end to it," said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. "Law enforcement agencies will be stepping up their efforts to help remind drivers to stay alert when behind the wheel and to not endanger their lives or the lives of others with distractions from mobile devices."

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, an estimated 3,331 people died in 2011. Any activity that diverts the driverís attention away from the primary task of driving is distracting, but the recent dramatic rise in cell phone talking and texting has greatly increased the number of collisions.

"No text message or phone call is worth the risk of serious injury—or much worse," said Brian Kelly, acting secretary of the Advertisement
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Business, Transportation & Housing Agency. "Always keep your eyes on the road and hands off your phone while driving."

Behind the wheel, cell phone use can significantly reduce the brain functions needed for safe driving, sometimes up to37 percent. The cell phone conversation can cause such a reduction in proper brain function that good drivers are transforming seemingly into inattentive "zombies" behind the wheel.

To avoid falling victim to "zombie-like" distracted driving behaviors OTS is providing drivers with the following tips that can be implemented by any motorist:

• Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving

• Include in an outgoing message that you canít answer while you are driving

• Donít call or text anyone at a time when they may be driving

• Adjust controls and set a song playlist before you set out on the road

• Stay alert and keep your mind on the task of driving- often after a long day at work or a not-so-restful nightís sleep, peopleís minds can wander when behind the wheel. If you find yourself daydreaming - clear your head and focus on the road

In 2012, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported nearly 450,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone. The CHP and statewide law enforcement agencies are committed to ensuring our streets are safe by ticketing anyone found driving while distracted. The fine for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is $159, with subsequent tickets costing $279.

Get more distracted driving information at www.distraction.gov and teen information at

www.impactteendrivers.org.


 

1 comments

Comment Profile ImageYoshi Shirindipidy
Comment #1 | Friday, May 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm
I think Texting while Driving as Negligent! I once saw a my brother, Takashi zip by me at a high rate of speed while texting and obviously I knew him so, when we got home, I told in Japanese that, he was a bad person for doing that :)

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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