The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP) and more than 200 law enforcement agencies statewide are working together to promote National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April and California Teen Safe Driving Week, which is the first week of April.
Throughout April, CHP will focus on public education about the dangers of driving distracted including visits to schools and traffic safety presentations. In addition, April 1 and April 15 will be special high visibility enforcement days.
The urge to read and answer an incoming text message can be almost overwhelming. OTS is encouraging drivers to “Silence the Distraction” in new public service announcements aimed at getting drivers to turn off their phones while driving so they won’t be tempted. “Driving takes one’s full attention and any distraction can have deadly, dangerous consequences,” says Chief Phillip L. Sanchez, of the Pasadena Police Department. “Imagine driving for four or five seconds while blindfolded. That can be the effect of looking down to send a text message. In the average time it takes to check a text message – less than 5 seconds – a car travelling 60 mph will travel more than the length of a football field.” “No text, call, or social media update is worth a crash,” says OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “With an average of less than a second to react to an urgent situation, drivers need to have all their attention on the roadway.”
Distraction can take on many forms, not just texting, and can affects all road users, but young drivers are at a higher risk. People are finally starting to realize that everyday behaviors, such as texting or reaching for a dropped item, can be lethal when done behind the wheel.