The Turlock Police Department plans to recognize National Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April by joining the effort to crackdown on motorists whose attention strays from the roadways.
April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, law enforcement agencies are joining the Office of Traffic Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as law enforcement throughout the country, to work together to focus on education as well as enforcement.
The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round. The Turlock Police Department will join the statewide enforcement campaign, “zero tolerance days,” throughout the month of April. The enforcement effort is when all agencies will be especially vigilant in stopping distracted drivers. Although the purpose of the campaign is not to write as many citations as possible, sometimes citations are necessary for drivers to understand the importance of focusing on their driving.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem, especially as the use of Smartphones increase. Although such crashes are often difficult to prove, California had at least 84 fatal distracted driving collisions in 2013, 85 in 2014 and 67 in 2015, with the actual number of cases likely higher, according to the OTS. The number of injury collisions for the same three-year period shows an increase: 10,078 in 2013; 10,463 in 2014, and 11,023 in 2015. NHTSA data for 2014 show nationwide, 3,179 people died in distracted driving collisions, which is 10 per cent of all crash fatalities. An additional 431,000 people, or 18 per cent, were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers.
“As we rely on our cell phones more and more in our everyday lives, we seem to be kidding ourselves in thinking that they don’t affect our driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Crashes are up. The scientific evidence is solid. The dangers are real, and they apply to all of us. We need to silence the distractions.”
The problem of distracted driving is significant, and is no surprise to drivers day in and day out. The Department Of Transportation reported that at any given moment, during daylight hours, more than 660,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cellphone.
NHTSA will conduct a television campaign in April with the message “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” OTS will produce public service announcements and conduct a social media campaign urging drivers to “Silence the Distraction.”