Using cell phones, eating or drinking, adjusting a radio, or simply talking with friends are all activities teens engage in every day, but these activities become life-threatening hazards while driving. Unfortunately, many of these distractions will lead to crashes resulting in an injury or death.
To address these concerns, the California Highway Patrol is partnering with traffic safety organizations promoting safe driving behaviors for teens. The grant-funded Teen Distracted Drivers campaign consists of an education component that will allow for CHP officers and traffic safety partners to make appearances at schools and community events throughout the state. Distracted driving enforcement operations for this grant began October 1, 2021, and will continue through September 30, 2022.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are nearly 750,000 licensed teenage drivers in California. Data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicated that in 2019 there were nearly 44,000 crashes involving teen drivers between 15 to 19 years of age, including 231 fatal crashes. Although preliminary figures for 2020 indicated a drop in total crashes involving teen drivers in California, the number of teen driver-involved fatal crashes increased to 258.
“The combination of inattention and inexperience behind the wheel can lead to tragedy,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “This grant will assist our officers in keeping California’s roads safe, while addressing California’s distracted driving crisis among the state’s teens.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.