April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the United States, a month in which state transportation and law enforcement agencies work to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and to enforce state distracted driving laws. The ultimate goal of the month is to reduce the number of auto accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving – most of which are entirely preventable.
With laws banning both texting and talking on hand-held cell phones behind the wheel, California is leading the charge against distracted driving. Since those laws were implemented just two years ago, the number of car accident deaths in the state dropped by more than 20 percent.
This month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will work with more than 200 local police agencies to enforce the statewide ban, cracking down on drivers who are texting and talking on their cell phones or other electronic devices.
The California Office of Traffic Safety has also created a public campaign to educate and make drivers aware of distracted driving. The campaign is called “Don’t be a zombie behind the wheel,” based on the fact that drivers who are talking or texting are not fully present and engaged, with noticeable effects on their driving skills.
In recent months, we have focused many of our personal injury blog posts on distracted driving, and for good reason. According to one police officer, distracted driving crashes are usually the most harmful. “The types of accidents caused by distracted driving can be the worse we see,” he said. “The accidents caused by you not paying attention so you don’t have a chance to react and suddenly you’re in an oncoming lane of traffic or you’ve hit a tree – these crashes are usually very severe.”
Source: U.S. Dept of Transportation, “April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” April 3, 2012