Cellphone use while driving in California sees 39 percent increase | SierraSun.com

Cellphone use while driving in California sees 39 percent increase

Staff report

The Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol on Tuesday released a study showing a 39 percent increase in the percentage of California drivers seen using a cellphone while driving.

"It's shocking that nearly 10 percent of motorists were observed using their cellphones while driving a motor vehicle, a potentially-lethal combination," Office of Traffic Safety Director Ronda Craft said in a statement. "We will continue our aggressive public outreach campaign and our partnership with law enforcement to educate the public about the dangers of those who drive distracted and put the lives of others at risk."

The study was conducted by the OTSand the University of California, Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center.

According to OTS, the study revealed that this year, 9.2 percent of motorists were spotted using a cellphone while driving, up from 6.6 percent in 2014. The highest level recorded since research began was 10.8 percent of motorists using a cellphone in 2012.

During April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month, roughly 250 law enforcement agencies across California ticketed more than 46,000 drivers using a cellphone while driving‹ — about double the number of tickets issued during the average month, according to CHP.

Although there were fewer citations for hand-held talking on cell phones, law enforcement wrote 35 percent more tickets for texting-while-driving compared to 2014.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention, and roughly 3,000 people were killed nationwide last year in collisions involving a distracted driver.

"Texting takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of five seconds ­ enough time to travel the length of a football field, essentially driving blindfolded for 120 yards," officials said. 

 Visit tinyurl.com/qxecjl5 for more information about the dangers of distracted driving.