The state of California is set to receive about $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to fight distracted driving in the state. Under the “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” campaign, one California metro area will pilot an enhanced distracted driving awareness and enforcement program, including media saturation and increased police enforcement.
Currently, nearly 40 U.S. states ban texting and 10, including California, forbid all hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel. However, the disastrous results of distracted driving persist: in 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving-related car accidents in the United States, making up about 10 percent of traffic fatalities that year. Cell phone use was a factor in nearly one-quarter of accidents.
Under the new campaign, the state will saturate the Sacramento media market with anti-distracted driving advertisements and enlist extra officers to enforce the state’s cell phone laws during three separate two-week periods throughout the coming year. Similar, smaller-scale efforts in other states have reportedly led to a significant decrease in texting behind the wheel.
But according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the progress that has been made on distracted driving does not mean that further work is not needed. “Distracted driving is an epidemic,” he said in a news release. “While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured – and we can put an end to it.”
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Distracted driving: California gets $1.5 million to keep eyes on road,” Jamie Goldberg, June 8, 2012
At our San Diego personal injury law firm, we help people who have been injured in distracted driving-related car accidents. To learn more, visit the personal injury page on our website.