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POLL: Don't Drive Distracted, CHP Says

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the California Highway Patrol has been more vigilant.

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.

Jefftien Won April 21, 2012 at 01:43 PM
National Distracted Driving Concert & PPV featuring Flo rida, Kelly Rowland, Onerepublic, Justin Bieber Florida Atlantic University April 28 2012. http://rock2livefest.com/Default.aspx# http://rock2live.gothamcdn.com/
commuter April 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM
As a pedestrian, I regularly see cars running stop signs and stop lights. Half the time, I can see the driver talking on a cell phone. The penalties for these crimes are too light.
Maria Pia April 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
That's true....BUT...you also have those pedestrians that walk with head down texting or whatever, not paying attention to their suroundings.
Maria Pia April 21, 2012 at 06:26 PM
aside from the noticeable head/eye movements up and down from adults and student drivers....I think officers need to be more visible around the high schools...noticing young drivers transporting minors...thought that was prohibited
Ellen Wheeler April 21, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Do you also know about the TERRIFIC line that Mountain View High School students devised: "Don't drive intexticated"? Thank you to mom Dorothea Grimes-Farrow for leading this safety effort.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 23, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Yes Ellen! I told the kids to trademark it quickly!
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 23, 2012 at 06:02 PM
There are definitely still to many people who hold their phones when they drive. They need to, at the very least, put in a car mount. If not, I've seen driver side speakers that go on the head rest. I think that all new cars should have a hands free/Bluetooth device.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 23, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Do watch Glee? A few ago, one of their characters got into a car accident because she was texting and driving. Hopefully that message gets to the teens, and adults, that watch the show.

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