California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be conducting a statewide enforcement effort to combat distracted driving during the month of April.
CHP data reports that in 2017, 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 injured from distracted driving related crashes.
In 2018, the CHP issued more than 109,000 citations for violations of state hands-free cell phone laws, according to the release.
California Vehicle Code, Section 23123 states:
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”
Anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cell phone in California for any reason while operating a motor vehicle.
Violation of the law is punishable by a fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for each additional offense according to part b of Section 23123.
“Through a combination of high visibility enforcement efforts, a focused education campaign, and cooperation from the motoring public, preliminary data shows the number of inattentive drivers involved in crashes is on the decline,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley.
Overall the amount of distracted driving due to electronic devices was 4.52 percent in 2018, versus 3.58 percent in 2017, according to a study by California Office of Traffic Safety.
“Cell phones are working against us in the fight against distracted driving,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “The hope is that a combination of education and enforcement will drive people to change bad behaviors for the better.”
Cell phone usage is not the only type of distracted driving however.
Distracted driving is when the driver engages in any activity that takes attention away from driving.
The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers is the under-20 age group, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.
The average age for Cal State San Bernardino undergraduate students is 22, which is very close to the under-20 age group.