It just takes a split second.
When a driver eats, drinks, searches through car compartments or puts on makeup–among other things–and their eyes come off the road an accident can occur. The California Highway Patrol wants to remind drivers that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month.
"Essentially, anything that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary tasks of navigating a vehicle and responding to critical events can prove to have devastating consequences," said California Highway Patrol Commander Captain Mike Maskarich.
The National Safety Council estimates 1.4 million traffic accidents occur annually due to distracted driving behaviors, according to Maskarich.
CHP notes that the most common behaviors include talking on non-hands free cell phones and texting, other actions can be reading maps, books, using computers, changing CD’s or radio stations, adjusting temperature and even using global positioning satellite systems.
"I have even observed people changing their clothes while driving a vehicle," said Maskerich.
Althougth hands-free mobile phone technology is legal, explains CHP, they warn that the risks associated with being distracted are ever-present. Parents and teens are also reminded that drivers under the age of 18 are precluded from even using hands-free technology while driving.
"My team and I are committed to seeing a decrease in the number of traffic collisions that are caused by distracted driving," he said. "This however can only be accomplished through the diligent awareness and cooperation of the public."
"I look for your support and the collaborative efforts of all in the law enforcement community, who work alongside the men and women of the CHP to curtail the senseless loss of lives and injuries caused by distracted driving," he said.