In response to this growing incidence of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has launched a yearlong, Adult Distracted Driving traffic safety campaign in partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A minimum of 80 distracted driving enforcement operations and at least 500 traffic safety presentations will be completed statewide by the end of September 2015.
Another component of this grant is the month-long distracted driving awareness education and enforcement campaign the CHP engages in during April. The heightened awareness and increased enforcement throughout the month is an effort to encourage drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this reckless behavior.
“It is important to note that the success of this campaign is not measured by the number of enforcement actions taken by officers, but measured by the number of lives we save,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.
Illegal text messaging while driving qualifies as a manual, visual, and cognitive distraction. An individual uses their hands to type, their eyes to look at what they are typing, and their mind to think about the incoming or outgoing messages. From an officer’s standpoint, a driver who is texting and talking on a cell phone looks a lot like a motorist who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violators weave, speed up, slow down, etc., making this behavior unsafe while operating a vehicle.
“Drivers need to ask themselves, ‘Is that phone call or text message worth my life or the lives of those around me?’,” added Commissioner Farrow. “The answer is simple, it’s not worth it. Every distraction affects a driver’s reaction time, and things can change without notice.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.