It’s no secret that distracted driving is a major problem facing drivers today. Even if you practice safe driving habits and do not drive while using your cell phone, many of your fellow drivers are not as careful. In order to raise awareness about this important issue, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are partnering with the California Office of Traffic Safety and Impact Teen Drivers to observe “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” Through a variety of tactics and educational efforts, these agencies hope to improve driver safety and reduce the number of distracted driving-related accidents throughout Riverside County.

A Widespread Problem

According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, 71 percent of young people admit to texting while driving. Additionally, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle collisions in 2015. Even though people seem to understand that driving while texting or distracted by technology is dangerous, many people appear to adopt an “it won’t happen to me” mentality and continue to practice these unsafe behaviors.

However, according to CHP data, nearly 22,000 accidents were caused by distracted driving, representing a 30 percent drop from 2007. Authorities praise two 2008 laws for setting up penalties for drivers caught texting or using their phones without hands-free devices, which appear to have somewhat reduced the overall number of accidents due to distracted driving.

Sen. Joe Smitian, who authored these two laws, stated, “California’s distracted driving laws have been saving lives for a decade now. However, there’s more work to be done. Public education, meaningful penalties and rigorous enforcement are all essential. Most importantly, all of us who are out on the road have to remember—it can wait.”

A Proactive Approach

The CHP is running several “zero tolerance” enforcement campaigns throughout the month. Officers from Temecula, Indio, Riverside, and Beaumont stations will position themselves along freeways, highways, and roads, cracking down on distracted drivers. Hopefully, a combination of handing out citations and holding educational events will truly reduce the number of distracted driving-related accidents.

Even though California is taking a proactive approach in spreading awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, this practice is still all too common. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury at the hands of a negligent or distracted driver and need assistance in collecting compensation, contact Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation in Murrieta today at (951) 489-3320 to schedule a free consultation.