Police to step up enforcement for distracted drivers


COUNTY — In an effort to make roads safer, the San Luis Obispo Police Department is deploying extra traffic enforcement officers on Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 to stop distracted driving. San Luis Obispo Police Department is spreading the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves but everyone else on the road.
Using an electronic device while driving is a serious safety problem, SLOPD reported. Most drivers know that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but many still use their cell phones and other mobile devices when they are behind the wheel, putting themselves and others at risk. Many drivers see distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates.
In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated 424,000 injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver. That same year, 10 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.
San Luis Obispo Police Department recommends the following safety measures:

You can:
• 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

Parents can:
• 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

Employers can:
• 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, visit www.distraction.gov.

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