BISHOP, Calif.: The Bishop Police Department is working this April to remind motorists of the dangers of not providing their full attention when behind the wheel as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2019 nationwide. That same year in California, there were at least 18,698 crashes from distracted driving that resulted in 108 deaths and more than 13,500 injuries.
Distractions are not limited to cellular phones. Distractions include other electronics, children, pets, and eating or drinking while driving can also divert attention and result in a crash.
According to the 2020 California Statewide Public Opinion Survey, more than 75% of surveyed drivers listed “Distracted Driving because of TEXTING” as their biggest safety concern.
Breaking distracted driving laws becomes more serious this year. Beginning July 1, a violation for using a handheld cellular phone or texting while driving will result in a fine and also add a point to the driver’s record for each violation occurring within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.
Under current law, drivers cannot hold a phone or other electronic device while behind the wheel. Drivers under 18 years old are not allowed to use a cellular phone for any reason, including hands-free.
If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over and park at a safe location. Drivers should silence their phones or put the phone out of reach, such as the glove box.