Hey, Don’t Use Your Phone While Driving!

By Ed Brown as Edbrown05 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Electronic device use during rush hours increased by 71 percent in 2016.[By Ed Brown as Edbrown05 via Wikimedia Commons].

Press release from California Highway Patrol:

Despite the well-known dangers of distracted driving, the number of California drivers who use mobile devices while they drive is on the rise.

In a study conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) in April 2016, at least 12.8 percent of California drivers were observed using a mobile device during the day, up from 9.2 percent in 2015 and eclipsing the previous high of 10.8 percent in 2013. Due to the difficulty of observing mobile device use in a vehicle, these figures are considered minimums, with actual usage likely several points higher.

“These latest numbers are discouraging, but not totally unexpected,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The number of smartphones in the United States has gone from zero, 10 years ago, to over 200 million today. They have become so much a part of our lives that we can’t put them down, even when we know the danger.”

California and many other states observed National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and hundreds of other law enforcement agencies conducted educational and enforcement efforts. The CHP alone organized more than 300 educational presentations and issued 13,496 citations for distracted driving violations. The OTS conducted a social media campaign urging drivers to Silence the Distraction.

“Distraction occurs any time drivers take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, and their minds off their primary task of driving safely,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Any non-driving activity is a potential distraction and increases the risk of a collision.”

Data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that in 2013, 22,306 people were involved in collisions in which distracted driving was a factor. The number of distracted driving victims in California increased slightly in 2014, to 22,652. From 2013 to 2015, the number of drivers killed or injured in collisions in which distracted driving was a factor increased every year, from 10,162 in 2013, to 10,548 in 2014, and to 11,090 in 2015.

–MORE—

Despite these number, drivers seem less concerned about the dangers of distracted driving. The OTS study found that the observed usage rates appear to confirm previous studies, which show more drivers admit to using mobile devices “sometimes” or “regularly.” Fewer drivers believe that talking or texting on a cell phone is a major safety problem. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who say they have been hit or nearly hit by a driver using a cell phone remains steady at nearly 60 percent.

Other significant findings in the observational survey:

  • Though nearly all types of usage were up, typing and posting increased by more than one third.

  • The highest observed electronic device use and the fastest increase in usage is in urban areas, at 9.4 percent.

  • Electronic device use during rush hours increased by 71 percent in 2016.

  • The percentage of 16-24 year-olds talking on hand-held cell phones increased from less than 1 percent every year since 2012 to more than 2 percent in 2016.

  • Southern California drivers hold the phone to their ear at a rate double (3.8 percent) or more that of Central California drivers (1.9 percent) and Northern California drivers (1.4 percent).

“The study results are disturbing,” Commissioner Farrow said. “Every time someone drives distracted, they are putting themselves, their passengers and everyone on or near the roadway at risk.”

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28 comments

  • They talk and talk and talk about how bad it is, but driving while on cell phone and texting or reading texts is never enforced. Just for fun when I see someone face down in their cellular device driving near me I honk. Scared Look on their face is priceless

    • I too honk the horn when I see a distracted driver, the look on their face just makes me want to drive around and honk at them all day, it probably isn’t the best idea but it sure is fun

      • And what about when you cause an accident, startling the distracted driver with your horns? Is that better?

        • sharpen your pencil

          Atleast they would be at fault and I get paid! You are obviously one of the distracted drivers that we honk at. Facebook can wait asshat!

          • Your really not suppose to do that. REALLY! Honking at the distracted driver is not the thing to do according to the notes on page 50 in the DMV booklet.
            You have a PC, look it up!

            So Actually you would not get paid, cause in court you would be reliable for startling the distracted driver 1st, thus initiating the actual accident. Sorry you’d be paying them due to not being updated on the actual rules of the road.

            So instead of endangering others TOO, while your distracted by another distracted driver, you should reread Ca DMV rules. Last time i checked, Ca Highway Patrol uses those rules in their judgements on who is liable or not.
            P.S. You can keep the hat!

            Copy & pasted directly from the 2016 DMV handbook are when to use and not use your horn
            Page 50:

            USE YOUR HORN

            Only when necessary, to avoid
            collisions.

            To try to get “eye contact” with
            other drivers. You may tap your
            horn to alert another driver who
            might turn in front of you and
            cause a collision.

            On n
            arrow mountain roads, where
            you cannot see at least 200 feet
            ahead of your vehicle.

            DO NOT USE YOUR HORN

            If a driver or bicyclist is moving
            slowly, and you want him or her
            to drive faster or get out of your
            way. The driver or bicyclist may
            not be able to safely go faster due
            to illness, being lost, intoxication,
            or mechanical problems with the
            vehicle.

            To a
            lert other drivers that they
            made a mistake. Your honking
            may cause them to make more
            mistakes or to become angry and
            retaliate.

            Because you may be angry or
            upset.

            To honk at pedestrians, bicyclists,
            or motorcyclists unless necessary
            to avoid a collision. Remember
            that your horn sounds much louder
            outside a vehicle.

            NOTE:
            Honking your horn may
            startle other drivers. It is safer to
            slow down or stop instead of honk
            ing your horn.

  • The late supervisor Roger Rodoni was reported to be using his cell phone (talking to his wife) when he had the 2008 car accident that killed him. It had been illegal in Calif. since 2006, but illegality aside, reason should argue against such cell phone use. I guess the lesson is that even people who should know better will do it.

    • veterans friend

      The person who killed RR crossed a lane & the median to hit him head on. I doubt HIS behavior had ANYTHING to do with that accident. [edit]

      • sharpen your pencil

        So you think if his head wasn’t burried in his phone it would have ended the same. Doubt it!

      • Who can say? Perhaps he could have seen the other driver crossing the line and median sooner and taken some sort of evasive action, the way I did when this nearly happened to me. (I was watching the other cars on 101, what used to be called “defensive driving,” not talking on a cell phone.) One thing we can say is that he WAS on his cell phone and that at the time it WAS already illegal to do so.

  • We almost got hit again hy an idiot on their phone!!grrrrr.I think people who see other people on those cell,should be allowed to give them tickets.the cops don’t do it someone should.we came to a screaming stop side ways,or slide-ways.KEEP YOUR PHONE IN YOUR DAMN POCKET when your driving.make it a habit,like your seat belt.I still have life to live and I want to enjoy it with my fam and friends.not dead because some idiot had to drive and talk or text.IT CAN WAIT or pull over.sore subject sorry.

  • Hugo Phuchurselph

    Wait this is Humboldt I’m a self absorbed ‘cannabis’ grower, don’t you know I’m more important than you. When you see me drifting across the double yellow its your job to get out of the way. I’m not gonna deflate my ego because you.

    • Huh that’s funny it’s usually college students using their phones. I know cuz they have their HSU parking sticker on their windshield.
      Most growers actually live here & have kids and understand the dangers. If you are someone who wants to blame every little thing on growers, then don’t forget to blame them for keeping our county’s economy going. And please just move away!!!!!! That rhetoric is getting so very old.

      • Why should law-abiding citizens raising their kids the RIGHT WAY move away? I think all criminal growers should move to Mexico and assist THEIR economy. See how the cartels deal with a gringo in the hood.

        • They shouldn’t. Unless they are the type of people that despise growers so much that on a daily basis they just can’t cope with seeing growers everywhere. And in that case I think it would be in there best interest to move elsewhere. After all this is humboldt county, known for the amount of weed it produces GLOBALLY not just in california.

  • Ernie Branscomb

    First, you shouldn’t use your cell while driving. However, I would like to see how much cell phone accidents have gone up since the cell laws. People now try to use them in their laps instead of holding them on top of the steering wheel where they have heads up viewing.
    Cell phone laws may be more of a revenue generating device rather than a safty law. Just saying…

    • Agreed.
      Promoting safety & common sense is good.
      Making laws to force it is bad.
      Answering a fire call, is good.
      Ignoring a fire or accident call is bad.
      Making a call without Sirius dialing, bad.
      Making a call with Sirius can save the life of the person in the car who just wrecked.
      Common sense.

  • Safety First Parents!

    I got a ticket once for being on my cell phone. Havent used it while driving since. Learned my lesson, simple.
    I was really mad the other day, as i crossed the crosswalk towards flavors, to be cut off by a station wagon, driver in his 30s, on his cell. He didnt see me till i raised my coffee mug next to his driverside window. I continued on, but then i see him park directly in front of the bank. Im now infuriated because i now see his toddler is in a safety seat in back. Put your child first before your selfish actions! You have a child to be accountable for! I wonder what his wife, who came out of the bank would have thought, if she knew her husband disregarded the safety of their child, so easily with his cell phone. Great job local Dad!

  • Used to be when you saw someone bouncing between the lines, they were drunk… now you go to pass them, and they’re looking down at their laps poking at their phone. My favorite is when you honk at them like Daniel suggests, they jump, look around,… then flip you off. Because it’s somehow you that’s the problem.

    But the police would much rather hide behind onramps and wait for people driving 66, rather than enforce the laws that would actually improve safety…

  • It’s so disturbing – almost every car I see coming toward me lately has a driver looking down and not ahead — it’s a danger to all of us, like a potential head-on collision coming at me from many of the cars I see. Even if they aren’t texting or talking, they are checking for their urgent! urgent! message updates.
    And I don’t know what can be done except self-monitoring. For those of you who oppose regulations, I don’t see enforcement of laws in place. I think there will need to be a tech solution eventually to address it, or everyone has to have hands-free & that feature won’t work unless the phone is in the trunk or something so you can’t physically access the device to text, etc. It’s reaching public health proportions.

    • your first statement is exactly the kind of bullshit nobody needs. i can only be lead to believe youre a very paranoid, unsafe driver yourself.

  • the rush hour number they present would be significantly lower if they didnt count drivers observed on phones in gridlock. just sayin. also, what kind of idiot intentionally startles other drivers? if you scared somebody into crashing into me, id be infinitely more pissed at you. just sayin some more.

  • i worked for phone company in sonoma county before i retired and as many know , telephone poles line the roads and sometimes we are flagmen in our work areas . back before any cell phone laws , there were many many close calls with drivers talking on phone and lots of rear enders and luckily only 1 employee run into while standing flagging in middle of the road .
    most of them that had problems said there were no signs and didnt see stopped traffic till they hit that car .
    for all us road / highway workers , i say im happy there are laws against texting or talking on hand held phones now . just wish penalty was twice as high or higher for first offense , needs to be just as high as first offense drunk driving

  • HEY!! I got the same exact phone as the one in the picture! I thought I was the only person that doesn’t have a phone from this decade!

  • Texting and Driving Documentary — “The Last Text”

    https://youtu.be/u4xXnsorfms

  • The dangers of texting are well understood by everyone. Let’s stop messing around and get serious. If people insist on continuing to text while driving, then let’s significantly increase the penalties when the distracted driving leads to a crash (like DUI) including jail time!

  • There’s a young boy alive and well today because I didn’t have my nose in my phone while driving! I noticed boys playing soccer on the front lawn of a home, when I was a block away, so I eased up on the gas a little. As I got closer, I saw a ball kicked towards the street, so I started slowing down, before I reached the SUV and pickup parked in front of the house. I was already on the brakes when the ball shot out from behind the parked trucks and I came to a stop as boy ran out into the street, without looking, eyes glued on the ball.

    If I had my eyes on my phone, instead, I don’t think I’d have noticed the boys and the ball, nor been able to stop in time.

    Those people who take selfies and post to Facebook while driving aren’t clever or talented, they have just been lucky… so far.

  • The article title could also say,
    “Despite the well-known dangers of distracted driving, the number of California drivers who honk at drivers, who use mobile devices while they drive is on the rise too!”

  • Follow the money.
    The http://www.ctia.org/ is as bad as the NRA in terms of buying politicians… otherwise, the laws would be strong enough to make people stop.
    Remember when folks used to think a headset cord was a “hands free device” and made it ok to drive distracted?

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