West Traffic Division
Captain’s Message - April 2013
DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH – “IT’S NOT WORTH IT!”
We know it's dangerous . . . and it makes our blood boil when we see other drivers too busy with their cellphones to bother looking at the road. Distracted driving puts us ALL at risk. Using cell phones while driving is now the number one source of “driver distraction” crashes in California. Drivers using hand-held devices are 4x’s as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves and others.
There are plenty of facts, figures and details about distracted driving, but let’s get the plain and simple ones on the table first:
- 80% of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention.
- A driver looking away from the road for 5 seconds to send or read a text travels the length of a football field at 55 mph. Most crashes happen with less than 3 seconds reaction time.
- Up to 6,000 people nationwide are killed in crashes where driver distractions (such as texting, talking on a cellphone, eating, etc.) are involved.
- Texting while driving can delay a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol content of .08 – the same as a drunk driver!
- The act of talking on a cell phone, even hands free, can give you “inattention blindness” where your brain is not seeing what is right in front of you because it’s too busy with the call. . . You are unaware that you’re driving impaired!
- A cell phone conversation can cause up to a 37% reduction in proper brain function needed for safe driving. Good drivers are transforming seemingly into inattentive “zombies” behind the wheel.
In an effort to eliminate dangerous behind-the-wheel cell phone use and texting, more than 200 law enforcement agencies will be involved in a statewide crackdown. The overall goal of the increased enforcements effort is to convince drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and to remind them to stay alert when behind the wheel and to not endanger their lives or the lives of others with distractions from mobile devices.
If you get caught in California, the ticket will cost $159 for the first offense, with subsequent offenses costing $279. But it shouldn't take higher fines to remind us how risky this behavior is. No text message or phone call is worth the risk of serious injury or worse. Studies have also shown that even hands-free devices make little difference in lowering the risk. What can you do? Most important, obey the law. It’s there for a reason. Also, do your best to eliminate distractions and start making good habits:
- NEVER text and drive.
- Turn off your phone when you get behind the wheel or store it in the glove box.
- Don’t call or text someone when you know they are likely driving.
- Include in your outgoing message that you can’t answer while you are driving.
- Don’t use your phone to take pictures or record video while driving.
- If something falls to the floor, pull over before trying to reach it.
- Make a pact with your family and friends to never use the phone with kids in the car.
Other distractions to avoid include:
Drivers and passengers alike are invited to check out all the Distracted Driving Zombies and add comments on the OTS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS, and follow OTS on Twitter @OTS_CA. You can learn more about distracted driving and what YOU can do at these other sites:
- No eating or drinking while driving.
- Don’t use your GPS, PDA, MP3 player or other devices while driving. Adjust controls and set your playlist before you set out on the road.
- Reading, including maps (pull over and stop to read maps).
- Applying makeup or other grooming.
- Getting too involved with passengers.
- Watching videos.
Distracted Driving Fact Sheet and FAQs
National Safety Council – Info, studies, tips on distracted driving
Focus Driven – advocates and families of distracted driving victims give you the facts, stories and tools you need. http://www.focusdriven.org/
Impact Teen Drivers – working to share with teens the dangers of reckless and distracted driving through their effective campaigns online and in schools.
Distracted.Gov – the US government’s official website on distracted driving. http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-involved/downloads.html
No Phone Zone – Oprah Winfrey’s distracted driving website
NHTSA – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s distracted driving website
AAA – Info, studies, tips on distracted driving
Distracted Driving TV and Radio Commercials and Victims Videos:
- Tune in to OTS’s YouTube Channel to see them all
- Teen Texting Twice!
- Don’t Call or Text When You Know They Are Driving
- Calling Plan
- Underage (audio)
- Do As I Say (audio)
- Traffic (audio)
- Faces of Distraction
- Alex Brown
If you have traffic safety concerns in a particular area, you may contact West Traffic Division’s (WTD) Community Traffic Services Unit (CTSU) at 213-473-0215, or WTD at 213-473-0222 to voice your concerns.
Captain Roseira C. Moreno
West Traffic Division
Tips to help you and your loved ones arrive safely:
* Look both ways TWICE before crossing the street.
* Wear your seatbelt and ensure that children with you are properly secured.
* Don’t use hand held devices such as cell phones or GPS units while driving.
* Don’t drink and drive.
* Please slow down. Speed kills.