Because of the high number of car accidents caused by distracted driving, April is observed as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to focus attention on the problem. Statistics show that in California, as well as nationwide, motorists who have their attention diverted from the road by such things as receiving and sending texts or making cell phone calls often end up in serious accidents.
California has adopted laws outlawing talking on handheld cell phones or texting while behind the wheel. The California Highway Patrol has announced that it will observe the month by enforcing a renewed crackdown on these practices by motorists, along with the cooperation of approximately 200 local law enforcement departments.
They believe that the legal ban on driving while texting or calling has been a factor in the 22 percent decline in traffic fatalities in the two years since its enactment. Distractions, a spokesman for the CHP asserts, turn a normally good driver into the equivalent of a "zombie" behind the wheel, unable to react in time to highway dangers and changing traffic conditions.
There now are 10 states around the country that ban the use of handheld cellphones and texting while driving, with a greater number outlawing one or the other. In states where such laws have not been adopted, safety advocates and state transportation agencies are nevertheless conducting public relations campaigns intended to discourage motorists from texting or making cellphone calls, especially on handheld phones, while driving. These and other activities performed by motorists can have terrible consequences, causing injuries or deaths and leading to personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits by the victims or their families.
Source: FastLane.gov, "April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month," April 3, 2012
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