SHPD seeks to reduce distracted driving after analyzing info about number of deaths, use of phones

According to the NHTSA, 3,450 people were killed in 2016 because of distracted drivers

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The Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD) issued a press release Tuesday, April 2, that clarified to residents that “distracted driving is dangerous” and how officials are “working to deter drivers” from harming others.

The department announced that, from April 7 to April 13 during the hours of 7am to 3pm, officers will focus their efforts on drivers that are talking, texting, using an application or any other action on their phone that “is not hands-free and violates California’s cell-phone law.”

The SHPD stated that a violation will subject people to a $162 fine for a first offense and at least $285 for a second offense.

“Using the phone should be the last thing a driver should be focused on,” said SHPD Police Chief Chris Nunley. “That text, phone call, email, picture, video or social-media post can wait. None of these things are worth risking your life and the lives of other drivers and passengers over.”

Distracted driving comes in many forms, but cell phones remain the top distraction, according to the SHPD. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 3,450 people were killed in 2016 because of distracted drivers. A 2018 observational survey conducted by Fresno State and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) discovered that nearly 5 percent of California drivers were using their phone illegally behind the wheel, either by talking on or using their phone without a hands-free device.

The SHPD clarified other examples of distractions, include eating, grooming, talking to passengers, using GPS, adjusting the radio, taking off a jacket or reaching for an object on the floor. Officers stated that if there is an important phone call or if there is a need to reprogram a navigation system, to pull over to a safe parking place. The department also recommends silencing a phone or putting it out of reach.

Funding for the distracted-driving enforcement operation is provided by a grant from the OTS through the NHTSA.