SMPD Focusing On Distracted Driving

April 3, 2024 ·

The BHPD will be looking for distracted drivers behind the wheel in the month of April. Photo courtesy of Why Kei via Unsplash.

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department announced that for the month of April they will be looking for drivers violating the state’s hands-free cell phone law. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“In today’s fast-paced life, it is common to lose focus while driving. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a crucial reminder that even a moment of inattention or a quick glance at the phone can lead to serious consequences. Let’s get off our apps and keep our eyes on the road. Before starting the car, silence your phone or put it in the glove box, trunk or back seat. Anywhere you can’t reach,” the SMPD stated in a press release.

According to the 2023 California Statewide Public Opinion Survey, over 74 percent of drivers surveyed said that distracted driving because of texting was their biggest safety concern. In 2021, at least 140 people were killed in distracted driving traffic crashes in the state of California. Some numbers could be underreported because law enforcement officers may not always be able to tell that distraction was a factor in a crash.

Under current law, drivers are not allowed to hold a phone or electronic communications device while operating a vehicle, this includes while stopped at a red light. This includes talking, texting or using an app, using a handheld cell phone while driving is punishable by a fine, and violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record.

For drivers who have to respond to a phone call, text or email o has other distractions, is asked to pull over to a safe parking spot to complete the task without putting themselves or others at risk. Other distractions can be eating, grooming, reaching for something that fell on the floor, putting on or taking off clothing, talking with passengers, or children in the back seat.

Funding for distracted driving enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

By Trevor

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