Distracted driving still proving to be major issue in California

SALINAS, Calif. - It’s been a decade since hands-free became the law, and distracted driving apparently is still a serious problem in California.

April is Distracted Driving Month, and a new poll by AAA found that 88-percent of drivers survey believe that distracted driving is a major issue. The cause of the problem, according to most drivers, appears to be cell phones. 

"While driving, the average person is on their cell phone talking or sending a text message,” said CHP Officer Oscar Loza.  

Even with the hands-free law in place, which was enacted in 2008, data shows that last year more than 20,000 drivers were involved in distracted driving collisions in California. 

 “I was in an accident but it was caused by someone who was texting and driving at the same time,” said driver Malvina Torres. 

The AAA poll found that 49% of drivers admit to talking on a hands-free device, while 39% said they text and drive behind the wheel.

 “Cell phones are a big issue…and one of the things I don’t understand is that they have phones that if you’re in the vehicle and you move, you can’t use the phone. I don’t know why they don’t make that mandatory on all phones,”  said driver Chris Bennett 

If the phone is in your hand for any reason, it’s considered distracted driving, and you can get a big ticket for it. 

If any driver is found to be distracted there will be no warning, they are going to get a citation for it. and your first citation for distracted driving can cost up to $162,” said Loza.

The CHP has planned special enforcements as well as educational opportunities this month, and it sounds like for some people it really couldn't have come at a better time.

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