Editor's Note: The Redwood City office of the CHP patrols much of the major routes traveled by Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents, via I-280 all the way to state Highway 85, and on U.S. Highway 101 to Mountain View. Here's Capt. Mike Maskarich on Distracted Driving Awareness Month. You can also watch this video of the Los Altos Police Department's presentation about distracted driving during GreenTown Los Altos' bike event in 2011.
By Captain Mike Maskarich
California Highway Patrol Commander
March is over and the men and women of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) want to let you know that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Officers from the Redwood City CHP Area will be vigilant for those drivers who are engaged in activities likely to cause distracted driving.
While the most common behaviors include talking on non-hands free cell phones and texting, other actions can be reading maps, books, and news papers, eating, drinking, using computers, changing CD’s/radio stations, adjusting temperature, applying make-up, and even using global positioning satellite systems. I have even observed people changing their clothes while driving a vehicle!
Essentially, anything that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary tasks of navigating a vehicle and responding to critical events can prove to have devastating consequences. The National Safety Council estimates 1.4 million traffic accidents occur annually due to distracted driving behaviors.
The CHP also wants you to note while using hands-free technology is legal, the risks associated with being distracted while talking on them are ever-present. Parents and teens are also reminded that drivers under the age of 18 are precluded from even using hands-free technology while driving.
My team and I are committed to seeing a decrease in the number of traffic collisions that are caused by distracted driving. This however can only be accomplished through the diligent awareness and cooperation of the public. I look for your support and the collaborative efforts of all in the law enforcement community, who work alongside the men and women of the CHP to curtail the senseless loss of lives and injuries caused by distracted driving.