The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently issued a press release regarding the disturbing news that driver cell phone usage is up despite obvious dangers. A study out of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in April 2016 found that at least 12.8 percent of California drivers were observed using a mobile device during the day. This number is up from the 9.2 percent of drivers observed using a mobile device in 2015. It’s also important to note that these figures are considered to be conservative, since observation of mobile device use in a vehicle is difficult. OTS Director Rhonda Craft was quick to point out that people are using smart phones behind the wheel, even when they know it’s dangerous to do so.
Additional Significant Findings of the OTS Study
- Though nearly all types of usages were up, typing and posting increased by more than one third.
- The highest observed electronic device use and the fastest increase in usage is in urban areas, at 9.4 percent.
- Electronic device use during rush hours increased by 71 percent in 2016.
- The percentage of 16-24 year olds talking on hand-held cell phones increased from less than one percent every year since 2012 to more than 2 percent in 2016.
- Southern California drivers hold the phone to their ear at a rate double (3.8 percent) or more than that of Central California drivers (1.9 percent) and Northern California drivers (1.4. percent).
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the CHP along with many other federal, state and local public safety agencies were out in full force with educational programs and increased enforcement periods. The CHP organized more than 300 educational presentations and issued 13,496 citations for distracted driving during the month. Additionally, the OTS conducted a social media campaign urging drivers to Silence the Distraction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also ran nationwide public service announcements.
If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one due to a distracted driver in San Diego or anywhere along the Central Coast, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.