While driving, it may be tempting to look at your phone when you hear it ring, but no text, app check or phone call is so important that it cannot wait. That’s the message this April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or your hands off the steering wheel – especially when it comes to texting, using apps and talking on your cell phone. These are some of the most dangerous things that people can do behind the wheel because attention is taken away from the focus of driving. The California Office of Traffic Safety wants to remind everyone that under the new distracted driving law that took effect January 1, holding a cell phone in your hand while driving is illegal and you will be cited.
The new distracted driving law prohibits driving while holding a cell phone in your hand, though you may still legally use it in a hands-free manner such as voice command or when using a mounting device. However, you cannot text, scroll or tap multiple times. Only one tap or swipe to activate or deactivate a feature or function is allowed. The first ticket costs $162, so save yourself the time and money by following these tips to avoid being distracted when behind the wheel:
- Turn off your cell phone and put it out of sight before you get behind the wheel.
- Do not program your GPS or MP3 player or other devices while driving – set your route and your music playlist before you start driving. If you need to change your GPS, pull over to a safe parking spot.
- Do not eat or drink while driving – try to eat before or after you get to your destination. Eating and drinking can be just as dangerous as trying to use your cell phone.
- Do not groom, read or try to watch videos – driving should be your only focus, arrive safe and alive.
- Finally, if something falls to the floor or is out of reach, pull over to a safe parking spot before trying to reach it.
For more information on Distracted Driving and Distracted Driving Awareness Month, please visit: www.ots.ca.gov For details on the new law, visit http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Press_Room/2017/docs/CaCellPhoneLawAB1785.pdf. The California Office of Traffic Safety wants to remind everyone that distracted driving is a choice, so make good decisions to help keep our roads safe for everyone!