California Office of Traffic Safety and Caltrans reminds drivers to Get Off Your Apps during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
The month brings attention to the dangers of distracted driving
and empower people to put their safety first
ELK GROVE, Calif. — April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are encouraging people to do their part to help reduce traffic crashes, pedestrian injuries and roadway fatalities by paying attention on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal car crashes in the United States and is defined as doing any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. That includes, but is not limited to, eating, grooming, operating a navigation system, talking on a cell phone, using a cell phone app, texting or anything that can endanger the driver, passengers and others on the road.
This form of reckless driving isn’t just risky for motorists, it can be deadly for every nearby driver, pedestrian, bicyclist and highway worker. In 2020, a person was killed in a crash involving distracted driving on California roads about every three days. Nationally, 3,142 people were killed in vehicle crashes where distraction was a factor, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This comprised 8.1% of all traffic fatalities in 2020 and a 0.7% increase from 3,119 fatalities in 2019. Also in 2020, 10.6% of victims in distraction-involved fatalities were Black.
One of the biggest causes of distracted driving is cell phone usage. In California, it is illegal to use a cell phone or similar electronic communication device while holding it in your hand. You can only use it in a hands-free manner, such as speaker phone or voice commands. Any driver under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone for any reason.
OTS and Caltrans remind all drivers to Get Off Your Apps and focus on the road. Simple tips to consider to avoid distracted driving include:
- Do not engage cell phones: Texting or using your cell phone can divert a driver’s attention from the road. Silence your phone before you get on the road.
- If you need your cell phone, be responsible: If you must answer a call, text or attend a video conference, pull over to a safe location and park your car to use your phone.
- Fallen objects: If something falls on the floor, leave it until you can safely retrieve the item or pull over to a safe parking spot before trying to reach it.
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is an ideal time to shine a light on the importance of prioritizing safer behaviors on the road to protect our children, parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and co-workers. Our roads are safer when they are distraction-free.
To learn more about ways to stay safe while on the road, visit www.gosafelyca.org.