Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed statewide in vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers. To combat this issue, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received the Adult Distracted Drivers (ADD) XII grant in an effort to keep California roads safe through education and enforcement, according to a release from the department.
“Distracted driving is a serious issue that is 100 percent preventable,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “We are encouraging drivers to make a conscious choice to not drive distracted. This simple decision can have a tremendous positive impact on the safety of California’s roadways.”
Drivers who choose to drive distracted exponentially increase the odds of being involved in a vehicle crash, according to the CHP. According to data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2019 there were nearly 19,000 crashes where driver inattention played a role. Of the 9,371 drivers involved in a fatal or injury distracted driving crash that year, nearly 10 percent cited cell phone use as the source of inattention.
Though there are numerous distractions for a driver and cell phones are the most prevalent, according to the CHP.
"Handheld cell phone use while driving is not only illegal in California, it is an unsafe activity behind the wheel," the CHP stated in the release.
In California, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving for any reason, including hands-free devices.
“Driving safely requires complete attention, so it is best to stay focused on the road. Distraction behind the wheel jeopardizes your safety, your passengers’ safety, and the well-being of those around you,” Commissioner Ray added.
Funds from the ADD grant will help support the CHP’s completion of at least 400 traffic safety presentations statewide and a minimum of 80 distracted driving enforcement operations between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.