CHP crackdown on distracted driving

Distracted Driving Awareness Month began this week, and California Highway Patrol officers plan to carry out two enforcement operations before the month is over.

“We will be doing a couple planned enforcement operations throughout the month,” CHP Officer Josh Greengard with the Newhall Station said Tuesday.

“Also, the road patrol officers will continue to seek out those drivers who choose to drive distracted, either talking without a hands-free device or texting,” he said.

In Sacramento, the dangers of distracted driving are scheduled to be highlighted at a news conference this week kicking off Distracted Driving Awareness Month and California Teen Safe Driving Week.

It also coincides with the 2019 Western States Teen Safe Driving Roundtable, organized by the National Transportation Safety Board, Impact Teen Drivers and the California Highway Patrol.

Transportation safety experts and teen advocates from throughout the nation are expected to take part in the roundtable discussion Wednesday at California State University, Sacramento.

Topics slated for discussion at the roundtable include improving traffic safety, community advocacy, engaging parents and young adults.

To get their point across — the point being that distracted driving kills people — CHP officers in Sacramento are prepared to take reporters on a ride-along so they can see firsthand how many drivers are texting and driving.

And, law enforcement officers are not just talking about texting teenagers.

In October, the CHP launced its Adult Distracted Driving program, which combines education and enforcement.

Each year, thousands of people are killed by distracted drivers and thousands more are injured.

Drivers perceive that distracted driving is an increasing problem, ahead of traffic congestion, aggressive drivers, drugs and drunken driving, a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed.

Many adults also report illegally using their cellphones while driving, but do change their behavior in response to education or receiving a citation, the AAA Foundation has found.

With the ADD grant, the CHP will complete a minimum of 60 distracted driving enforcement operations and at least 480 traffic safety presentations statewide by the end of September 2019.

“Your phone should not be your focus when you are driving. Your safety and the well-being of those around you are more important,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said.

“Nothing on your phone is worth endangering a life when you drive.”

Many distractions interfere with safe driving, but cellphones remain the top distraction. Using a cellphone, especially texting or emailing, is the most dangerous, officials say.

Other distractions include eating, grooming, talking to passengers, operating a navigation system and adjusting the radio.

According to the California Traffic Safety Institute, collisions caused by distraction occur daily throughout California. In 2013, there were 50 people killed and nearly 4,000 people injured as a result of driver distraction.

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