Despite a law banning texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving, a large number of motorists still haven’t kicked the habit—even though they admit it’s dangerous, according to a new survey sponsored by AT&T.
But don’t go pointing too many fingers at teen drivers as being the main culprits - the worst offenders are daily commuters.
Nearly half (49 percent) self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent of teenage motorists admitting to the behavior.
Results show 98 percent of those surveyed know that sending a text or e-mail while behind the wheel is not safe.
It’s a growing problem—six in 10 respondents said they never texted while driving three years ago.
The California Highway Patrol announced a crackdown starting April 1—National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The “It’s Not Worth It” campaign is designed to increase visibility of the problem, ramp up enforcement, and send the message that the illegal behavior isn’t worth a fine or accident.
The Redwood City Police Department is joining in too. According to a statement sent out over the weekend, the department said it will be "actively ticketing those texting or operating hand-held cell phones" during the month of April.
"Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited with no warnings," RCPD's statement said. "The current minimum ticket cost is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279."
Redwood City Police Chief JR Gamez said, even with the use of a hands-free device, talking on the phone while driving can be dangerous, causing "inattention blindness."
AT&T has also launched a public education campaign to bring awareness to the problem. “It Can Wait” seeks to make the “dangers of texting and driving real and personal by giving thousands of people hands-on experience with driving simulators and sharing the heart-wrenching stories” like that of Jamie Nash, who was involved in a life-changing texting-and-driving accident.
Watch Nash tell her story in the YouTube video attached to this article.
AT&T also recently debuted an app that turns off ringer and texting functions on a smartphone when it senses someone is in a car that's moving.
With hefty fines and dire consequences at stake, why do motorists continue to defy the law and text or talk while in the car? Will you be more likely to curb the habit knowing the CHP is cracking down? Tell us in the comments below.
Also on Redwood City-Woodside Patch:
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- Op-Ed: The New Electronic Sign Going Up at Roosevelt School is Bad News for Neighbors
- City Offers Low-Income Residents Cheap Home Improvement Loans
- New Redwood City Charter School Announces Location
- Community Upset Police Find Leyla Beban at Fault in Fatal Collision
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