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Message received: Distracted driving is dangerous

For every second that a driver's eyes are off of the road, the risk of getting in an accident increases.

As we discussed thoroughly in our article on distracted driving fatalities, that's why California and many other states have taken drastic measures to get drivers to focus on the road instead of their cellphones.

The state has banned the use of hand-held cellphones for all drivers and certain drivers, including bus operators and inexperienced motorists, are also prohibited from using hands-free devices while behind the wheel.

Last year, California lawmakers also increased the fines that come along with a citation for operating a vehicle while talking or texting to $159 for first-time offenses and $300 for second-time offenses. For third offenses, drivers can expect to pay a fine as large as $500.

Finally, the California Office of Traffic Safety's "It's Not Worth It" campaign has set out to educate drivers of all ages on the risks associated with distracted driving.

Although cellphone use is known as the No. 1 cause of distracted among drivers in California, other distractions such as adjusting the radio, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, and attending to children can all be dangerous as well.

The reason California officials are taking the issue of distracted driving so seriously is because it's a problem that injures and kills countless Americans each month.

According to a federal website dedicated to distracted driving,, 2012 alone resulted in more than 421,000 injuries and 3,300 deaths due to distracted driving.

According to the government website, 71 percent of teens and young drivers admit to sending text messages while driving and 78 percent say they have read a text while driving. For that reason, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving is becoming more dangerous than drinking and driving.

Help the NHTSA spread the message that distracted driving is a serious problem in California and elsewhere by using the social media hashtag #justdrive -- but, of course, not while you are driving.

Help the NHTSA spread the message that distracted driving is a serious problem in California and elsewhere by using the social media hashtag #justdrive -- but, of course, not while you are driving.

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