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CHP Launches Teen Distracted Driving Safety Campaign

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is urging teenage drivers to stop texting, put away cell phones, and focus on driving. CHP to teens: "You only live once--it's not worth it!"

In an effort save lives, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), along with Impact Teen Drivers, will be conducting a year-long teen distracted driving traffic safety campaign through September 2013.

Distracted driving is a serious safety concern for all drivers throughout California, especially teen drivers.  According to CHP, 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some kind of driver distraction, with talking on the cell phone or texting being the main source of distraction. 

In April 2012, the Belmont Police Department participated in ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement efforts for illegal cell phone use and texting violations. During that time, police issued 81 citations to distracted drivers. (Note: not all of those cited were teens.)

Also in April 2012, San Carlos, law enforcement officials issued more than 50 citations, many to distracted drivers--in just one night. 

The 12-month, grant-funded Teen Distracted Drivers Education and Enforcement II campaign consists of an education component, as well as distracted driver enforcement operations to be conducted throughout the state.

“The California Office of Traffic Safety grant is an exciting opportunity for Impact Teen Drivers and the CHP to continue to be at the forefront of decreasing the number of collisions and deaths associated with distracted teen drivers,” said Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers.

“It will take a strong combination of education and enforcement to have a fundamental and sustained behavior shift toward driving distraction free.”

California drivers age 20 years or older were involved in nearly 22,000 collisions from Oct. 1, 2009 - Sept. 30, 2010, in which a distraction was documented as a factor in the cause of the crash.  As new drivers, teens are at an even greater risk of being involved in collisions due to distracted driving because of the peer pressures to stay immediately connected to their friends via text and cell phone.  Teenage distracted driving is one of the leading contributors to collisions and near collisions.

“The CHP is urging teen drivers to focus on driving.  Eliminate the urge to text or call by putting away the distractions,” said Commissioner Joe Farrow.

“Through education, enforcement, and the continued partnership between the CHP and Impact Teen Drivers, we can change this dangerous behavior.”

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

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