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West Traffic Newsletter
West Traffic Division
Captain’s Message - April 2014

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), along with Law enforcement agencies Statewide, will be participating in the April 2014 National Distracted Driver Awareness Campaign.  The State of California has identified April 3, April 8, and April 17 as maximum enforcement dates; therefore grant-funded overtime for Distracted Driver Details will be conducted on those dates.  Additional enforcement via a Driving Under Influence (DUI) saturation detail scheduled for April 10, and a DUI Checkpoint scheduled for April 18 will also be held. 
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a driver’s attention away from the task of driving.  All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.  Per data provided by national reporting agencies, on average one in two drivers answer cellphone calls while driving and one in four drivers place calls while driving.  Three of five young drivers answer calls and one in three young drivers place calls while driving.  Two of five young drivers were observed manipulating a hand-held device while driving.  Since 2010 the number of drivers distracted by using cell phones and electronic devices while driving has more than doubled.  There are over 210 million licensed drivers in the United States.  Based on this, on average over 102 million drivers were answering calls and over 50 million drivers were placing calls while driving during 2013.  There are about 660,000 drivers (5%) using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving during any daylight moment across America.  And 1.18 million drivers (9%) are using some type of mobile device while driving.  Use of electronic devices while driving can distract drivers from watching the road and surrounding environment, thinking about driving tasks, and keeping their hands on the steering wheel.  Texting while driving involves all three types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive.  More than half the drivers involved in fatal collisions using cell phones were 15 to 29 years old.  Most drivers support bans on cell phone use (74%) and texting while driving (94%).    

Just over two years ago, the first federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the risk of distraction related to electronic devices in vehicles were announced.  The proposed recommendations were created to encourage manufacturers to develop in-vehicle electronic devices that are 'less distracting.'  The proposed voluntary guidelines apply to entertainment, communications, navigation and information gathering devices, and other electronics that are not required to safely operate a vehicle.  The guidelines, issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices that require visual or manual operation by drivers to be installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured. 

American drivers expect certain tools and conveniences, and the distraction guidelines help automakers develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without interfering with a driver's attention or sacrificing safety.  System functions intended to warn a driver of a potential crash are not considered distracting devices, and are not subject to the guidelines.  Limiting the complexity and the operation of devices to one hand only, limiting individual off-road glances required for device operation, and disabling of certain electronic devices used by the driver while driving unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission shift lever is in park are some of the devices advancing in  development.  Some additional devices being developed for the traveling public are visual-manual text messaging, 10-digit phone dialing, navigation system destination entry by address, internet browsing, and social media browsing by a driver while their vehicle is in gear.
Some future proposed guidelines address devices that are brought into a vehicle rather than being part of the vehicle.  Voice-activated controls are being considered to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices.  Public hearings were held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C. to solicit the public’s views.  The Phase I guidelines were published in the Federal Register and members of the public commented on the proposal.  Final guidelines were issued after the agency reviewed, analyzed, and responded to public input.  You may learn more about the NHTSA Visual-Manual Driver Distraction Guidelines for In-Vehicle Electronic Devices document by visiting the Department of Transportation’s website on distracted Driving, Distraction.gov, NHTSA’s website, www.nhtsa.gov, or by searching the public docket (NHTSA-2010-0053) at www.regulations.gov.  There are many steps communities can take to help provide safety to the traveling public.  Conducting high-visibility enforcement using NHTSA’s “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” model is one strategy.   

The NHTSA website has a great deal of additional information and releases various reports containing information regarding different types of traffic collisions, which can be obtained by calling (202) 366-9550 or via the Internet at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov (click on “NCSA” under “Popular Information”). 

Community Traffic Services Unit (CTSU) is one of the specialized units operating as a part of West Traffic Division that works to resolve particular community concerns.  If you have traffic safety concerns in a particular area, you may contact CTSU at 213-473-0215 or WTD at 213-473-0222 to voice your concerns.  Also, please see CTSU's information page listed under the West Traffic Division Web Page.

The areas within Operations-West Bureau and WTD are Hollywood Area, Wilshire Area, West Los Angeles Area, Pacific Area, and Olympic Area.  Excessive speed, red light, unsafe left turns, pedestrian violations, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are the primary violations in these areas.  Our West Traffic Enforcement and Collision Investigation traffic officers are regularly patrolling these streets, as are the Area patrol officers.  Any of the geographical areas' Web Pages can be accessed via LAPDOnline.  Please check the Crime Prevention Circular for the areas that are of particular interest to you. 

Captain Rolando Solano
Commanding Officer
West Traffic Division

Traffic Tips

*    Wear your seatbelt.
*    Don’t drink and drive.
*    Don’t use handheld equipment such as a cell phone or GPS while driving.
*    Look both ways twice before crossing the street.
*    Please slow down. Speed kills.

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