Don’t Let Distracted Driving Ruin Your Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving road safetyDistracted driving is an issue that could expose drivers, pedestrians and passengers to serious risks. As the Los Angeles Police Department uses billboards to urge drivers to avoid breaking traffic rules, other law enforcement agencies in the state take their own measures to fight one of the most common factors behind accidents: distracted driving.

In Moorpark, police officers have been cracking down on distracted drivers. During the Thanksgiving week, drivers who are preparing to hit the road to spend the holiday with loved ones and friends should be reminded that California law prohibits the from talking on the phone while driving, unless they are using hands-free technology. Writing or reading text on the phone while behind the wheel is also against the state’s distracted driving law.

According to local police officers, while many drivers admit that using a phone to text or call while behind the wheel is dangerous, they continue to take part in the behavior. Part of why this happens, many safety experts say, is due to the fact that drivers often are unaware of real life accidents associated with distracted driving.

In 2012, 3,328 Americans died in auto accidents caused by distracted driving. Over 420,000 people were injured in the same type of accidents. In the same year, 11 percent of all fatal accidents were caused by distracted driving.

Californians could be cited for being distracted while behind the wheel. For a first offense, the driver will have to pay $15o to cover his or her ticket, but subsequent offenses can top $280.

Drivers who are too distracted have a hard time responding to potential emergencies. Since motorists often take a few seconds to read or respond to a text message, for instance, what happens around them in the road goes unnoticed in the meantime. The lack of attention reduces the time fame the driver has to act. If a driver misses the opportunity to act to avoid an accident because he or she was too distracted, injuries and deaths may occur as a result.

To avoid accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday, focus on the road ahead and put your phone down. Also, remember that distracted driving could also be associated with other activities such as talking to passengers, handling children or pets in the backseat or reaching out to catch an object you may have dropped.

To avoid accidents that could result in injuries, focus your attention on the road and pull over to rest if you’re too tired to continue safely.

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