Nearly twice a day, every day, deputies issue a motorist in the Santa Clarita Valley with a citation for using cell phones while driving.
Responding to concerns expressed to deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station by citizens who see drivers using cell phones while driving, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shirley Miller posted a notice on Facebook that deputies remain aware of the problem and are responding.
“Citizens tell us they still see individuals using cell phones when driving,” Miller wrote in her post. “Don’t worry, we hear your concerns—and we continue to watch for distracted drivers. On average, our deputies issue over two dozen citations per week for cell phone use.”
On Monday, the California Highway Patrol issued a news release on the dangers of distracted driving among teenagers.
CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader sent out the news release highlighting the agency’s receipt of a grant to educate young drivers and cut down on distracted driving. The grant also happened to coincide with this week’s observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week.
“Traffic collisions continue to be the No. 1 killer of teenagers in the United States, and distracted driving is often the cause,” she wrote in the release.
The CHP, she noted, is working with Impact Teen Drivers on a year-long program to help eliminate these preventable collisions.
Impact Teen Drivers is a nonprofit dedicated to reversing the number of teens killed in motor vehicle collisions. The group’s mission is to change the culture of driving forever “thereby saving lives not only in this generation of drivers, but also in all future generations of drivers.”
With a one-year grant that started Oct. 1, 2018, the CHP and ITD are working at schools and community events throughout California to help teen drivers.
The Teen Distracted Drivers Education and Enforcement grant comes with an education component to compliment enforcement operations.
The message of the program is simple: focus on the road ahead and get where you are going safely.
“Any distraction can be dangerous for a driver, but young drivers are at the highest risk,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley was quoted as saying in the news release.
“Electronic devices, other people in the car, adjusting vehicle controls — these are just a few ways any driver can be distracted. Our goal is to protect young drivers through education.”
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2016 found that nine percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal collisions were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal collisions.
The study also found that hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers.
“We are privileged to work with the California Highway Patrol to stop the number one killer of teens in California—preventable car crashes,” Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, said in the news release.
“Through a strong combination of education and enforcement, we can change the driving culture to one that is distraction free.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.