Irvine Police Department Press Release

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF POLICE
Farrah Emami - Public Information Officer
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606

949-724-7112
femami@cityofirvine.org
www.irvinepd.org


3/31/2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE #03-31-16
Subject :

Irvine Police Department Joins National Campaign to End Distracted Driving
Contact :Farrah Emami, Public Information Officer    949-724-7112
    femami@cityofirvine.org

Irvine, CA – Distracted driving is such an important safety issue that April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  In California, police, sheriff and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials are joining the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Transportation Safety Board, and law enforcement throughout the country to focus on education and enforcement. 

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round.  The Irvine Police Department will join statewide "Zero Tolerance" enforcement campaigns on April 7, 2016, and April 20, 2016, when all agencies will be especially vigilant for distracted drivers.  Although the purpose of the campaigns are not to write as many citations as possible, sometimes citations are necessary for drivers to understand the importance of focusing on their driving. 

Distracted driving continues to be a problem, especially as the use of smart phones increases.  Although such crashes are often difficult to prove, California had at least 84 fatal distracted driving collisions in 2013, 85 in 2014 and 67 in 2015, with the actual number of cases likely higher.  The number of injury collisions for the same 3-year period shows an increase: 10,078 in 2013; 10,463 in 2014; and 11,023 in 2015.  NHTSA data for 2014 show nationwide, 3,179 people died in distracted driving collisions.  An additional 431,000 people, or 18 percent, were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers. 

“As we rely on our cell phones more and more in our everyday lives, we seem to be kidding ourselves in thinking that they don't affect our driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft.  “Crashes are up.  The scientific evidence is solid.  The dangers are real, and they apply to all of us.  We need to silence the distractions.”

The problem of distracted driving is significant. The Department of Transportation notes that at any given moment during daylight hours, more than 660,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cellphone.   

NHTSA will conduct a television campaign in April with the message “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” OTS will produce public service announcements and conduct a social media campaign urging drivers to “Silence the Distraction.” 

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting a radio
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Watching a Video
  • Using navigation

          
As text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. OTS, police, sheriff and CHP remind everyone the best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. 

 

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IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT
One Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-7000  www.irvinepd.org

"Working In Partnership with the Community"

INTEGRITY - QUALITY SERVICE - ACCOUNTABILITY - RESPECT

Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has become a nationally recognized city, with a population of 250,384, spans 66 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Orange County Great Park – the first great metropolitan park of the 21st century.  For more information, please visit
cityofirvine.org.  



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