Distracted driving is becoming a major cause of car accidents — and it is an epidemic in San Diego County, where more than 450 people were cited and fined for texting while driving in less than a week.
• In just six days, police ticketed 470 drivers for cellphone violations — and logged another 556 cases that weren’t ticketed.
• Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into accidents.
• 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of inattention.
• Texting or talking on a cell phone is the top source of driver inattention.
Lt. David Gilmore, traffic coordinator for the San Diego Sheriff’s department, told KPBS News there’s probably at least one cell phone in every car on the road in San Diego County.
Gilmore equates distracted driving with drunk driving, because “you’re not able to focus on your primary objective, which is to drive down the road and not have a collision.”
Last week in San Diego County, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers ticketed 467 adults and three juveniles for driving whle texting or talking on their cellphones, according to a Channel 10 News report.
In addition to the drivers who were ticketed, law enforcement officers logged 556 instances of seeing drivers violating laws related to cell phones, but those drivers were not cited because the officers were handling more important business, Gilmore told Channel 10.
That’s more than 1,000 drivers in one week alone — and those are only the ones who were caught.
The minimum fine for talking without a hands-free device, or texting on a cell phone, is $159 for a first offense, Gilmore said. Repeat offenders pay $279.
“Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk,” Gilmore said in a written statement. “Several drivers who were contacted remarked that they had seen the public information campaign prior to their traffic stop and subsequent citation.”
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into accidents and injure themselves. The state safety agency outlined these basic facts about distracted driving:
- 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention.
- Up to 6000 people nationwide are killed in crashes where driver distractions are involved.
- Talking on a cell phone or texting is the number one source of driver distractions.
- Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, far enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. Most crashes happen with less than 3 seconds reaction time.
- The act of talking on a cell phone, even hands free, can give you “inattention blindness,” where your brain isn’t seeing what’s right in front of you. You aren’t even aware that you are driving impaired.
In a statewide OTS survey, almost 46 percent of California drivers admitted to making driving mistakes while talking on a cell phone. More than 60 percent said that they had been hit or nearly hit by other drivers who were talking or texting. (Source: NBC San Diego)
California Car Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented car accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.
- • Value: We offer discounted fees to callers who read our blog.
• Experience: Our attorneys are top-ranked.
• Consideration: We advance all expenses on cases. And we never charge a fee unless your case is successfully settled.