Distracted Driver Awareness Month in California

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April 16, 2019
Edward Smith

Distracted Driver Awareness Month in California

April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month in California. Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the major reasons accidents happen. The National Transportation Safety Board urged California to outlaw even hands-free driving to promote safety. At kick-off ceremonies, an NTSB board representative said that if this became the law in the Golden State, it would be a landmark piece of legislation. He said that young people battle distraction while driving daily and urged them to realize that hands-free is not without risk. He stated that if California became the leader in this fight for safety by banning all cell phone devices, the NTSB would support itself.  

Distracted Driver Awareness Kick-Off

The kick-off event was held on April 3 in Sacramento. Besides marking the beginning of Distracted Driver Awareness Month, it also signaled the start of California Teen Safe Driving Week. The NTSB, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and Impact Teen Drivers sponsored the event. The latter is a non-profit organization based in Sacramento. The event included round table discussions delving into safe driving for teens. The CHP also allowed the media to ride along in patrol cars, observing distracted drivers.

Timeline for Banning All Electronic Devices

The NTSB started talking about banning all electronic devices in 2011 when a law outlawing texting using a handheld device came into effect. Another law in 2017 disallowed holding a cell phone even when the driver is waiting at a light or a stop sign. Yet another bill sponsored by two assemblymen, Tom Daly, and Jim Frazier, would add one point to a driver’s record for distracted driving. If it passes, it will become law in 2021.

Distracted Driver Statistics

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, almost 5 percent of motor vehicle operators used cell phones while driving in 2018. This is more than 3.6 percent of drivers who did this in 2017. In 2018, the police in Sacramento handed out 2,500 citations for driving while using a cell phone. The problem takes time to correct. This was true of seat belts when they were first mandated. However, with time, drivers learned that using seat belts could save their lives. Now, 97 percent of all drivers use them.

Additional Reasons Drivers Are Distracted

One theory about the uptick in distracted driving is the addition of touch screens to automobile displays. In the past, a driver could feel around for the knob and still keep their eyes on the road. Today, the driver must take their eyes off the road to see and read the touch screen. The morning commute can include distractions from drivers applying makeup to eating on their way to work.

How to Eliminate Distracted Driving

It is indisputable that distracted driving causes accidents. California Teen Safe Driving Week and Distracted Driver Awareness Month aim to help change that. Young drivers learn from their parents. So, seeing an adult driving while talking on a cell phone reinforces the idea that using a mobile device is permissible.

Parents should take the time to discuss cell phone use with their teenagers. Some apps allow a parent to control cell phone use if a good example and family discussions are insufficient. One such app, Drive Safe Mode, is free for Android and iOS. It blocks text and cell phone use while the vehicle is in motion. Parents can decide the speed at which the phone cuts off and which numbers can be used in an emergency. The app will even alert the parents if the Drive Safe Mode is disabled while driving.

Watch YouTube Video: Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2019. This moving video features a pedestrian hit by a distracted driver going 40 miles per hour. The pedestrian suffered multiple broken bones and had to learn how to walk again.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Distracted drivers are becoming a severe problem for everyone on the road. An accident with a distracted driver can cause serious injury and death. Call me at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. If you are out of the area, contact me at my toll-free number (800) 404-5400. You can reach out to me online, also.

I belong to the Million Dollar Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. The first admits members who win over $1 million for a client. The second represents the top tier of attorneys.

I’ve practiced personal injury law for more than 37 years. During that time, I’ve helped clients with car accidents, truck crashes, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful deaths.

Learn more about my practice on the following pages:

Photo Attribution: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-white-dress-shirt-holding-smartphone-804128/

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