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Distracted Driving Awareness Month observed in California

Distracted driving remains one of the most prevalent hazards on U.S. roads today. That includes here in California, which has some of the country's most comprehensive laws against cellphone use behind the wheel.

Although distracted driving education and enforcement is a year-round priority, you may be especially aware of efforts this month. April has been dubbed Distracted Driving awareness month. Efforts include increased enforcement by the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies.

The National Safety Council, which is a strong supporter of the month-long campaign, has a website devoted to correcting common myths about distracted driving. One that seems to plague many California drivers is the idea that hands-free communication devices are somehow safer than handheld cellphones.

The NSC has looked at over 30 studies showing that hands-free devices do not significantly decrease distraction risks. This is because such devices still cause cognitive (brain) distraction. And because they are operated in ways that drivers aren't used to (voice to text, for instance), they could actually be more distracting than using a handheld cellphone.

If anyone you know texts or engages in other distracted driving behaviors behind the wheel, don't be surprised if they are stopped and cited by the CHP or other agencies this month. And if a ticket is the worst outcome, they should consider themselves fortunate.

Please take some time this month to research the dangers of distracted driving and share this information with your loved ones. Then, take the pledge to always drive distraction-free.

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