The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched a campaign to help combat "Distracted Driving." DOT is encouraging Law Enforcement, community groups, schools, and everyone to become involved and spread the word of the dangers associated with distracted driving
"Distracted Driving" is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Using a cell phone without a "hands-free" device and texting are two of the most common examples of distracted driving. However, grooming, changing your radio station or MP3 player, manipulating a GPS device, reading, eating are all other example of common activity that drivers engage in, placing themselves and others in harms way.
California law prohibits use of a cell phone while driving without using a "hands-free" device. There are a few exceptions including in case of an emergency, for emergency service personnel, and for certain commercial purposes. Texting is also prohibited in California. California Vehicle Code sections 23123-23124 cover these violations.
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:
•Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
•Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
•In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. (NHTSA)
•The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
•Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Please join the campaign and help spread the word, "Put It Down!"