Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) #65 was approved to curtail distracted driving in California and declared April as distracted driving awareness month. This legislation called on businesses, government agencies, schools, hospitals, and other private and public institutions across the state to cooperate and publicize the awareness program to its divisions and internal branches to raise awareness of this growing problem through education and awareness.
During a California Office of Traffic Safety (COTS) conducted statewide survey it found that 36 percent of Californians believed that cell phone use while driving posed the largest danger to CA drivers. However, 45 percent stated that they had made a driving mistake while using their cell phone, either talking or texting while driving and 70 percent said they had been hit or were nearly hit by someone using their cell phone while driving.
Additionally, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) numbers about 80 percent of 18 to 20-year-old drivers think using the phone while driving does NOT affect their driving, but statistics show quite the opposite is true; in fact, texting while driving increases your chances of being involved in an accident 23 times that of undistracted driving.
Yet, how successful was the CA Legislature at reducing the number of people texting or using their cell phone while driving?
Statewide Initiatives on Distracted Driving
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers set up distracted drivers simulators, seatbelt challenges, and interactive booths at high schools across the state, particularly 3-9 April, which was affirmed as Teen Distracted Drivers’ Week.
Meanwhile, AT&T started an initiative directed at distracted drivers called “IT CAN WAIT,” in which their President McNeely released a statement, “We encourage everyone to take the IT CAN WAIT pledge to keep your eyes on the road, not your phone, and help keep our roads safe.”
CHP officers were scheduled for and made appearances in schools and malls across the state to promote awareness and to familiarize drivers about the changes brought about by AB 1785 signed into law last September by Governor Brown, from which sprang CVC 23123.5 and CVC 23124. The former makes it a violation for anyone to utilize hand-held electronic communication devices while operating a motor vehicle, while the latter prohibits the use of even hands-free devices by drivers under the age of 18.
Government officials are hoping that through raising awareness, rather than handing out a lot of tickets, they can achieve the same results as the seat belt law to raise hands-free use to 98 percent or more. But, like seat belt use, it will take time to change the public’s attitudes and habits.
On the 5th and 19th of April, law enforcement officers across the state used the latter approach and handed out tens of thousands of distracted driving tickets to motorists in a concerted effort to crackdown on drivers who ignored the warnings to put down their phones while driving. If convicted, those drivers will pay about $165 if it is their first conviction or nearly $300 for second and subsequent violations.
AT&T is right, whatever text or phone call is coming in, it can wait! If you believe it can’t wait, pull over and park before answering.
Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyers
When you have questions about distracted driving or need legal assistance for those or another ticket In Kern, Kings, or Fresno County, then call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 for a FREE phone consultation.
Do you have an arraignment in traffic court in Bakersfield, Delano, Tulare, Visalia, Fresno, or any court in Central Valley? Even when your arraignment is in LA, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an office visit.
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