November 19, 2014
By the end of September 2015, at least 80 distracted driving enforcement operations and a minimum of 500 traffic safety presentations will be held throughout the state of California. According to the California Highway Patrol, these measures are being taken to curb the disturbing frequency of distracted driving accidents and fatalities.
In conjunction with the Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Admission, the CHP unveiled its Adult Distracted Driving traffic safety program to further educate California motorists about the dangers associated with distracted driving. The CHP already conducts a distracted driving awareness education and enforcement campaign during the month of April.
“It is important to note that the success of this campaign is not measured by the number of enforcement actions taken by officers, but measured by the number of lives we save,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that cause a motorist to shift their attention from the road. Activities that could distract a driver include using a mobile phone to talk or text, eating or drinking while driving, reading a map or watching a video. Text messaging is seen as a particular concern because it requires the manual, visual and cognitive attention of the driver.
California law prohibits the use of handheld devices to call or text for all drivers. Bus drivers and novice drivers in the state are banned from using handheld and hands-free devices. Despite these restrictions, distracted driving in California continues to be a pervasive problem. In 2013, nearly 70% of drivers in the state claim that they were hit, or nearly hit, by another driver using a cell phone, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
The distracted driving epidemic is not limited to civilian motorists alone. In the past two years alone, approximately 140 people were injured as a result of distracted drivers of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. Last year, distracted emergency vehicle drivers caused at least 180 traffic collisions, an average of one accident every two days.
Commissioner Farrow believes that distracted drivers need to reevaluate their priorities when they’re behind the wheel. “Drivers need to ask themselves, ‘Is that phone call or text message worth my life or the lives of those around me?’” Farrow said. “The answer is simple, it’s not worth it. Every distraction affects a driver’s reaction time, and things can change without notice.”
The NHTSA has a number of suggestions to combat the widespread incidence of distracted driving. They recommend that people actively pledge to avoid texting or talking on the phone while driving. Because traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the US, they also urge parents to discuss safe driving practices with their teenage children before they get behind the wheel of a car. Recognizing the fact that teens are more apt to text and drive than most motorists, there are apps currently available that can disable a user’s phone while he or she is on the road.
At Elk Grove Ford, we want our customers to drive responsibly. We are also committed to serving the Sacramento area by providing the best deals possible. Stop by our dealership and check out our large inventory of 2014-2015 Ford vehicles, including Edge, Focus, Escape, Fusion, F-150 and Mustang. We’ve also got you covered if you’re looking for a great used car. For more information, visit us at the Elk Grove dealership or call us at 800-721-0645.