You have seen them. They are not difficult to miss. Distracted drivers have a way of annoying other drivers and, even more alarmingly, endangering them. They drive well below the speed limit in the passing lane and may cross the centerline into the other driver’s lane.
Their awareness of other drivers is close to non-existent whether it be on a highway, residential street or even parking lot. California has its share of distracted drivers. And, for the past 20 years, more of them have turned to the cellphone as their preferred method of distraction.
Illegal to use phone while driving
In California, it is illegal to use a handheld cellphone or smartphone while driving. There are just too many potentially dangerous situations that arise with such behavior due to dialing, talking and texting. Also, drivers under 18 are banned from using cellphones in the state.
Since 2015, California has focused a variety of safety campaigns targeting drivers ages 16 to 24 who are among the most susceptible to distracted driving.
Distracted driving: a statewide problem
Here are some eye-opening statistics on distracted driving as provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety and its “Go Safely, California” public awareness campaign:
- According to a 2019 survey conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), nearly 70% of state residents declared distracted driving – specifically talking and texting – as the biggest problem on state roads.
- Nearly 58% of California drivers noted that their vehicles were struck or nearly struck by a driver talking or texting on a cellphone.
- More than 51% of California drivers admitted making a mistake while talking on a cellphone.
- In California, roughly 60% of all crashes involving teen drivers were attributed to distractions such as cellphone usage and interacting with passengers.
Numbers do not lie. Safety awareness campaigns are critical to alert Californians about the dangers of distracted driving.
Be on the alert of distracted drivers
Do your best to steer clear of distracted drivers. But this task can be difficult with so many people subscribing to this dangerous and illegal behavior whether it is talking and texting on the phone to grooming, eating and conversing with passengers. Avoiding a car crash likely means avoiding an injury.