California celebrates 10 years of anti-texting and hands-free driving law


As California celebrates 10 years since enacting the hands-free cell phone and no-texting-and-driving laws, officials also celebrate the reduction in both, citations for violations and distracted driving collisions.

In 2009, the first full year after California senate enacted Bill 1613 and Bill 28, that prohibited cell phone usage and texting while driving, California Highway Patrol issued 148,000 citations for violations while more 33,000 collisions due to distracted driving were reported. A preliminary CHP report shows that in 2017 citations had dropped to 97,000 and collisions with distracted drivers dropped to 22,000.

“It is safe to say that it (citations and collisions are) declining overall in the state and in Santa Clarita,” said public information officer for the Newhall CHP Office Josh Greengard.

To continue the effort aimed at safe driving, CHP and local officials are taking part in a number of outreach efforts.

This month has been designated by officials as Distracted Driving Awareness, and this first week is also California Teen Safe Driving Week, meaning that there will be added enforcement in the area, according to Greengard.

Newhall CHP also hosts a once-a-month, Start Smart, educational driving course that is for new or perspective teen drivers on April 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. contact Newhall CHP to enroll.

Despite the increased efforts, one particular group of drivers still is affected more than others — drivers under the age of 30.

“We lose 11 teens every day to preventable car crashes in the U.S., in California alone, we lose the equivalent of eight large yellow school buses each year to this deadly epidemic,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of ITD. “It’s time to stop the No. 1 killer of teens in California. It’s time we put two hands on the wheel, two eyes on the road, and most important, keep our minds focused on our driving. It will take a strong combination of education and enforcement to prevent distracted driving.”

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