Nearly 20,000 cited for distracted driving
Despite a statewide public education campaign about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol issued 19,850 citations during the month of April to drivers who violated California’s handsfree cell phone laws, according to a release.
This total represents a 3.6 percent increase from April 2018. As part of the campaign, the CHP identified two statewide, zero-tolerance enforcement days, April 4 and 19. During that time, the CHP issued 2,459 citations to drivers for violating the handsfree law.
The CHP, the California Office of Traffic Safety, Impact Teen Drivers, local law enforcement, and other traffic safety partners worked together throughout Distracted Driving Awareness Month to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Only statistics from the CHP were available for release.
In addition to phones, other serious distractions include eating, grooming, applying makeup, reaching for fallen objects, using a vehicle’s touchscreen, knobs, dials or buttons, changing clothes, or any other task that takes your eyes or mind off the road.
“Citations are just one tool law enforcement has at its disposal for combating driver distraction,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Our ultimate goal is compliance with California’s handsfree law so that nothing diverts a driver’s attention or interferes with their ability to safely operate a vehicle.”
Distracted driving remains a top concern for California drivers. According to a 2018 public opinion survey conducted by University of California, Berkeley, nearly half of all drivers surveyed listed distracted driving because of texting or talking on a cell phone as their biggest safety concern on roads.
California has had distracted driving laws since 2008. Law enforcement agencies remind drivers that under the handsfree cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a wireless telephone or electronic communications device while operating a vehicle. Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use a cell phone for any reason, including handsfree.
Source: California Highway Patrol
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