CHP cites 5,900 in April for distracted driving

Motorists cited throughout Bay Area during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Cell phone calls, texts and other distractions on the road earned nearly 6,000 Bay Area motorists citations from the California Highway Patrol last month, the CHP announced Friday, May 11.

The 5,900 citations to drivers throughout the region came during the CHP's "It's Not Worth It" campaign to remind the public of the dangers distracted driving poses as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, according to CHP officials.

"We were overwhelmed with the support here in the Bay Area," CHP Chief Teresa Becher said in a statement.

"Our allied law enforcement agencies as well as many other public and private entities in the community stepped forward to make a difference. Some made a pledge, others posted the message on electronic signs or in front of businesses, and for those that would not comply there was enforcement."

Last month, the CHP issued roughly 30,000 citations statewide related to distracted driving, officials said. Despite April's campaign, Becher said the CHP observed many motorists engaging in unsafe distractions while driving.

In one instance, an officer responding to a major injury accident with emergency lights and siren on had to move around a vehicle that would not change lanes.

"The person was texting and never noticed the officer's presence," the chief said.

— Bay City News Service


Posted by MADD, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

Distracted drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. The cops need to crack down on this every day, not just one month a year.

If cell phones are the #1 distraction, is there anything the cell phone companies can do to improve traffic safety?

Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

> Distracted drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.

No, they are not! The CHP has extensive data, submitted by departments all over the state, that provide fairly comprehensive data on accidents.

Drunk driving deaths were about 11,000 last year:

Web Link

It's hard to find evidence of fatal accidents that were caused by "distracted drivers". Occasionally they do happen, but they are hard for accident investigators to prove.

This whole "distracted drive" campaign is just another witch hunt for the various police agencies. Drunk driving arrests at sobriety checkpoints have dropped to such a low number that the police now use them to seize vehicles that are unregistered.

A few years back, there was a big push to put children in car seats, and before that--there was some hysteria about seat belts. The Legislature even passed a law giving the police the right to look into your car as you were driving to see if you were "belted up".

It's really time to look towards the day when cars are self-driving, and we can put an end to this constant refinement of the nanny state--brought to us, in large part, by Joe Simitian.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Distracted driving comes in many forms. I recently was in the right hand lane where the car in the left hand lane was driving erratically. As we both stopped at the red light, I could plainly see the driver with a spoon in one hand and a yogurt in the other.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hey Joe, there ought to be a law. Yogurt containers should be plainly labeled "Do not consume while driving".

Posted by John Murphy, a resident of another community
on May 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

It's hard to find evidence of fatal accidents that were caused by "distracted drivers".


Web Link

Posted by Choice, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Simply Put:

It's EVERY driver's job to drive responsibly.
When some drivers chose not to be responsible.... new laws are made.
If all drivers were responsible then no new laws would be required.

Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2012 at 8:17 pm

16000 fatalities caused by texting:

Web Link

This study is not proof. Proof is a crash report that has an officer's name, and evidence that the driver at fault was actively texting at the time of the accident.

This study is a statistical approach--which can not produce 16000 accident reports to justify the results.

The US Census provides some details:
Web Link

Notice that the "distracted drivers" data is "estimated". Proof is the issue here, not an estimate that can not be proven.

Posted by Ed, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Contrary to what Wilson states it isn't that hard to find examples. I found these 3 in about one minute with Google. I'm sure there are others. I don't consider it a "nanny state" to enact laws against this kind of patently dangerous behavior. If somebody does something stupid that puts themselves at risk be my guest. However, when it involves potentially killing me or my kids you just lost my sympathy.

Posted by Ed, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Forgot to paste the 3 examples. Here they are:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

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