FROM THE ANAHEIM POLICE DEPARTMENT: APRIL IS DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH
ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 31, 2015) To save lives and educate all Californians, especially young drivers, about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Impact Teen Drivers, and more than 200 law enforcement agencies statewide are working together on increased education and enforcement efforts for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and California Teen Safe Driving Week, the first week of April.
“Driving takes one’s full attention, and any distraction can have deadly, dangerous consequences,” said Sergeant Garet Bonham of the Anaheim Police Department. “Imagine driving for four or five seconds while blindfolded. That can be the effect of looking down to send a text message. In the average time it takes to check a text message – less than 5 seconds – a car traveling 60 mph will travel about 450 feet, which is more than the length of a football field.”
Throughout the month of April, Police, Sheriffs, and the CHP will focus on educating the public about the dangers of driving distracted through local media interviews, visits to schools, and traffic safety presentations. In addition, two dates, April 1 and April 15, have been earmarked for special statewide high visibility enforcement days for all law enforcement agencies that are participating in the national traffic safety campaign.
The urge to read and answer an incoming message when we hear the text sound can be almost overwhelming. The Office of Traffic Safety is using a message of “Silence the Distraction” in new public service announcements aimed at getting drivers to turn off their phones while driving so they will not be 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 can take on many forms and affects all road users, young drivers are at a greater risk. During “California Teen Safe Driving Week,” April1-7, Impact Teen Drivers will focus on educating teens that their number one killer – reckless and distracted driving – is 100% preventable. “People are realizing that everyday behaviors, such as texting or reaching for a dropped item, can be lethal when done behind the wheel,” Kelly Browning, Ph.D., Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, said.
For further information or questions regarding the Anaheim Police Department’s involvement in this program, please contact Sergeant Garet Bonham at 714-765-1834. Please see page two of this press release for a few statistics provided by the Office of Traffic Safety.
2015 Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Key Facts & Statistics
· In 2013, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 426,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone. (California DMV and the California Office of Traffic Safety)
· In 2014, 61% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting on a cell phone. (California Traffic Safety Survey)
· In 2014, nearly 40% of Californians surveyed thought texting or talking on a cell phone while driving posed the biggest safety problem on California roadways. (California Traffic Safety Survey)
· In 2014, more than 50% of Californians surveyed said that texting while driving is the most serious distraction for drivers. (California Traffic Safety Survey)
· In 2014, nearly 53% of drivers admitted to making a driving mistake while talking on a cell phone. (California Traffic Safety Survey)
· The total percentage of distracted driving due to electronic devices observed decreased from 7.4% in 2013 to 6.4% in 2014, a 13.5% reduction and the lowest since surveys began in 2011. (CA Statewide Observational Survey of Cell Phone & Texting Use by Drivers)
National and General Data
· As of January 2015, 44 states banned text messaging for all drivers. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration)
· According to the latest data from NHTSA, nationwide in 2013, 3,154 people were killed, and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. This represents a 6.7 percent decrease in the number of fatalities recorded in 2012. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration)
· Ten percent of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. (Distraction.gov)
· Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
· Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, VTTI)
· A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Twenty percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Library)
· Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that is enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)