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CHP hopes to deter distracted driving with tickets

Have you ever been driving down the freeway only to glance at the car next to you and see the driver with his eyes on his cellphone instead of the road? It’s not a very comforting feeling, is it?

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, close to 70 percent of California residents who were surveyed last year said they had been hit or almost hit by another driver who was talking or texting on a cellphone.

Additionally, nearly half of the California residents agreed that texting is the most dangerous distraction to drivers. Yet, so many people continue to engage in the behavior anyway.

The California Highway Patrol is making distracted driving a priority after noticing the problem on the rise among both teenage and adult drivers.

Under state law, distracted drivers can be ticketed and face a minimum fine of $162 if caught.

Typically, when we think about distracted driving in this day and age we think of using a cellphone while driving. However, the CHP stresses that anything that takes a driver’s  attention off of the road can count as a distracted driving offense, including eating, using a GPS device or tending to children.

A CHP officer said he pulled over a driver two years ago for swerving and it turned out that she was curling her hair. He said that if your eyes are focused on something other than the road, it’s similar to driving with your eyes closed, which is something none of us would think of doing.

The officer said that the CHP will continue issuing tickets in effort to get drivers to put distractions aside while driving, but he said that it is really up to the drivers and their passengers to put a stop to it. For some, it will likely take an accident or near accident to get the point across.

Source: Glendale News-Press, “CHP addresses rise in distracted driving with patrol,” Alicia Banks, Sept. 6, 2014

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