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Thousands of Distracted Drivers “Caught in the Act”

Results of Statewide Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign Released


May 23, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif – Despite a statewide public education campaign about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued 19,850 citations during the month of April to drivers who violated California's handsfree cell phone laws. 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 (OTS), Impact Teen Drivers (ITD), 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."

The OTS continued its "Go Safely, California" public awareness campaign for the month of April and early part of May with a focus on distracted driving. The education effort included TV and radio spots, social media posts, and outdoor billboards with messages encouraging Californians to put down the phone while driving.

"Drivers on their cell phone are a stubborn problem that will continue to require extensive education about the dangers and enforcement of laws against using cell phones behind the wheel," OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. "It is a bad habit that may be hard for some to break, but is something that far too often leads to tragic consequences."



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