APPLE VALLEY-(VVNG.com): Although most people do not realize the dangers they face while driving distracted, most realize the risk when witnessing others doing it. The San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department, Apple Valley Station in an effort to make the road safe will be deploying extra traffic enforcement officers on April 13th and April 28th.
Distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves but to those sharing the road with them, Apple Valley Station officials said. Drivers know texting while driving is dangerous, but many continue to use their cell phones and other mobile devices when behind the wheel.
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, eleven percent of fatal crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In addition, most drivers aren’t aware that just talking on a cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, can lead to “inattention blindness” as critical brain functions needed for driving are used for cell phone talking.
Apple Valley Sheriff’s Station is focusing on ways to change this behavior by raising public awareness, education, and enforcement. These methods have been proven when used for drunk driving and seatbelt used. Since these campaigns, drunk driving was reduced and seatbelt use has increased. At any given daylight moment across America, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Nearly half of drivers in a national survey said that they answer their cell phones while driving at least some of the time, of those nearly 60% continue to drive after answering the calls.
Your Police Department recommends the following safety measures:
- turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive
- speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task
- be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving
- If you know your teen is on the road – don’t call or text them until you know they have reached their destination
- Adopt, publicize, and enforce company policies that prohibit employees from texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while in a company vehicle, or in a personal vehicle while using a company-issued cell phone.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov.