Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Distracted driving growing as an issue

Distracted driving growing as an issue

The Moses Lake Police Department is running extra patrols for distracted drivers who may be on their phones on the roadway. This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Observing April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the first week in April as California Teen Safe Driving Week, safety advocates will focus on education and enforcement efforts statewide. Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (unmarked) vehicles as part of the operation in order to identify motorists who are using handheld electronic devices while driving. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

During the last campaign from April 8, 2017 to April 13, 2017, State Police issued more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving.

Since the effort began in 2011, police said they have noticed that the number of summonses for cellphone use has declined each year as hands-free technology becomes more prevalent.

"These numbers demonstrate the need for more distracted driving enforcement", said Sgt. Matt LaBelle of the detachment's traffic services section.

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If you receive a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your auto in a safe location, but "never‟ on a freeway". The Thruway Authority is proud to partner with State Police and other state agencies to promote awareness about this entirely preventable issue.

The newest Text Stop, located on the northbound Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) between Exits 27 and 28 in the town of Schroon, Essex County, opened in October 2017. "The best way to put an end to distracted driving is to educate all Californians about the danger it poses".

- Cell phone use can be habit-forming. "Washington State has seen a 30-percent increase in traffic fatalities from distracted driving so this law helps law enforcement enforce that a little bit more".

Preliminary 2017 data also shows almost 22,000 drivers were involved in distracted driving collisions in California, a decline from the more than 33,000 drivers involved in distracted driving collisions in 2007, the last full year before the hands-free law went into effect.

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