Updated April 22, 8:17 p.m.–
As part of a month-long nationwide campaign to reduce distracted driving, Citrus Heights police said they are participating in focused educational and enforcement activities throughout April — including several “zero tolerance” days.
“The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round,” police said earlier this month in a written press statement authored by Traffic Sgt. Bryan Fritch.
The statement broadly defined distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Specified driving distractions listed by police include texting, using a cellphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system or map, watching a video, or adjusting a radio or MP3 player.
Police said distracted driving is an ongoing problem, citing the rise in smartphone use as a contributing factor. Text messaging was also highlighted by police as “by far the most alarming distraction,” due to the amount of attention required by the driver. The current cost of a texting-and-driving ticket in Sacramento County is believed to be $162, according to Attorney Ed Smith, who operates the website www.AutoAccident.com.
“Zero tolerance” days were announced for April 7 and April 20, where police said officers would be “especially vigilant” in their goal to reduce distracted driving.
2014 statistics cited by police from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show 18 percent of people injured in motor vehicle collisions involved distracted drivers. The statistics also show 3,179 people lost their lives in 2014 in distracted driving collisions nationwide, although police believe that total is likely higher due to such crashes often being difficult to prove.
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Police said the purpose of the campaign “is not to write as many citations as possible,” but also stated “sometimes citations are necessary for distracted drivers to understand the importance of focusing on their driving.” According to www.distraction.gov, more than 660,000 drivers use hand-held cellphones on the road “at any given daylight moment” across the United States.
As part of April’s “National Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” the NHTSA is also conducting a television campaign with the message “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” California’s Office of Traffic Safety is also participating with public service announcements and a “Silence the Distraction” social media campaign.
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As part of a month-long nationwide campaign to reduce distracted driving, Citrus Heights police said they are participating in focused educational and enforcement activities throughout April -- including several "zero tolerance" days.
"The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round," police said earlier this month in a written press statement authored by Traffic Sgt. Bryan Fritch...
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