Local Authorities Increasing Education, Enforcement of Distracted Driving for April

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Imagine driving with a blindfold for four to five seconds. That’s the equivalent when sending a text message while driving, according to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office.

“Driving takes one’s full attention and any distraction can have deadly, dangerous consequences,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.

During the month of April, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol, Impact Teen Drivers, and more than 200 law enforcement agencies statewide are working together to increase education and enforcement efforts during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the California Teen Safe Driving Week.

The Sheriff’s Office, CHP, and several police agencies will be teaching younger drivers the dangers of driving distracted through local media interviews, visits to schools, and traffic safety presentations.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state of California will also be target distracted drivers on April 1 and 15, as part of the national traffic safety campaign.

The urge to read or respond to an incoming text when you hear that “ding” can be overwhelming, so OTS encouraging drivers to “Silence the Distraction.” The public service announcement aims to get motorists to turn off their phones while driving so they are not tempted.

“No text, call, or social media update is worth a crash,” said 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.”

While distracted driving affects all motorists on the roadways, young drivers are at a greater risk. During “California Teen Safe Driving Week,” April 1 through 7, Impact Teen Drivers will educate teens about their number one killer – reckless and distracted driving. This does cause a lot of deaths every year. When drivers use their phones behind the wheel, they are putting themselves and other drivers at risk. So many innocent drivers are killed every year from another driver’s recklessness, so it’s important that people stop using their mobile phones whilst driving. For the family of those who have been victim to someone else’s distracted driving, they may want to file a claim against the driver that caused the accident. This should help them to gain compensation to cover any funeral costs, for example.

“People are realizing that everyday behaviors, such as texting or reaching for a dropped item, can be lethal when done behind the wheel,” said Kelly Browning, Ph.D., Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers.

“Each of us must drive responsibly, keeping full attention to the task at hand – DRIVING,” added Christianson. “If you have teenagers in your family who are driving, make sure they understand the laws and what their responsibilities are as well.”

Funding for Distracted Driving Enforcement is provided to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

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