South San Francisco, CA May 4, 2017 Submitted by SSFPD
During the month of April, the South San Francisco Police Department partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) during the nationwide Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This annual monthlong campaign focuses on unsafe moving violations connected to distracted driving.
The campaign has a strong public education aspect through television, radio, and social media notifications, but also includes saturation patrol enforcement. During the month of April, South San Francisco Police Officers from the Traffic and Patrol divisions issued a total of 222 distracted driving citations to motorists. The most prevalent citation issued was for using a cellular telephone without it being handsfree.
Since a revised law went into effect in January, adult drivers are prohibited from driving while holding a cellphone in their hand for any reason. However, if the cellphone is used in a hands-free manner, such as voice command or with the use of a mounting device, it is completely legal. While driving, you can single swipe or tap the screen to activate or deactivate a feature or function, but you cannot text, scroll or tap multiple times. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cellphone at any time, regardless of whether its handsfree or not.
Drivers are reminded that any mounting devices used to hold a cellphone must be placed so they do not block any of the driver’s view out the windshield. Any device attached to the windshield itself is required by law to be placed in the five-inch square area on the lower corner of the windshield closest to the driver or in the seven-inch square area on the lower corner of the windshield in the area furthest from the driver.
This law is designed to prevent distracted driving and to help make the roadways in South San Francisco and throughout California safer. Although the monthlong special awareness campaign has ended, officers will continue to diligently enforce distracted driving laws all year long. Please remember, if you are driving with the phone in one hand, then you are likely to end up with a ticket in the other.
The following facts are from OTS and NHTSA:
- In 2016, a survey showed that more than 44% of Californians said that texting while driving is the most serious distraction for drivers.
- In 2016, more than 54% of California drivers surveyed said they had been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting on cell phone.
- In 2016, nearly 40% of drivers admitted to making a mistake while talking on a cell phone.
- Nationally, 3,154 people were killed and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013.
- 10 percent of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of crash.
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks, such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting, increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
- 5 seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.