SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Drivers encounter frequent distractions from their cellular telephones, interacting with passengers, and much more, all of which affect their driving ability and pose a significant danger of car crashes. Teens are at even greater risk of being involved in a collision caused by distracted driving because of peer pressure to stay connected via text and cellular telephones. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has partnered with Impact Teen Drivers (ITD) to assist in eliminating these preventable collisions.
“Teenage drivers are the most inexperienced motorists on the road, and with added distractions like using their cellular telephones, we have to work even harder to teach them how to drive safely,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Impact Teen Drivers and the CHP share the same goal; to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.”
At schools and community events across the state, the CHP and ITD work to educate and change the behavior of teen drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal collisions were reported as distracted at the time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 this age group represented the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of a collision.
“We must remember that these crashes are not inevitable accidents, but are preventable tragedies,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of ITD. “Three-quarters of teen crashes are not caused by driving under the influence, but instead by the deadly combination of inexperience and reckless or distracted driving. By educating parents and teens, and enforcing highly effective graduated driver licensing laws, we can change the driving culture to one that is distraction-free and save hundreds of lives each year in California alone.”
The grant-funded Teen Distracted Drivers Education and Enforcement VI campaign consists of an education component, as well as teen distracted driver enforcement operations to be conducted throughout the state until September 30, 2017.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(CHP press release)