California has been knee-deep in the fight against distracted driving. They have passed new legislation aimed at keeping driver attention focused on the road ahead instead on their text messages, emails or their GPS navigation device. Even radio dials and air conditioning controls pose a hazard when it comes to distracted driving, and California police are watching for that too.
Now a new $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is helping the city of Sacramento further drive the point home to anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The $1.5 million will be spent on a public service campaign intended to help remind drivers distracted driving is not only dangerous in California, but also against the law. They will embark on this new public safety campaign immediately. before the heaviest driving time hits in July when traffic fatalities are expected to spike in the state, and across the country.
As part of the “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” campaign, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this week that the federal government would provide $2.4 million to California and Delaware to initiate pilot programs aimed at examining whether increased police enforcement and paid media advertisements can seriously reduce distracted driving.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic,” LaHood said in a news release Thursday. “While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured — and we can put an end to it.”
In 2010, at least 3,092 people were killed in distracted-driving accidents, accounting for one in 10 traffic fatalities, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Cellphone use on its own was a factor in 24% of all crashes in 2010, according to the National Safety Council.
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