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Will you be participating in Distracted Driving Awareness Month?

In our increasingly corporate and technological world, attention is a precious resource. There's no question that advertisers are competing for our attention, but it is also being taken by our electronic devices. At certain times – like when you're behind the wheel of a car – stolen attention can be a very dangerous thing.

California has fairly comprehensive distracted driving laws, at least related to cellphone use behind the wheel. But laws alone are ineffective and need to be combined with strict enforcement and public awareness campaigns. As it happens, April has been dubbed "Distracted Driving Awareness Month," and the California Highway Patrol has some plans on how best to raise awareness.

According to news sources, the CHP (and local law enforcement agencies) will be ramping up enforcement of distracted driving laws all month. Law enforcement officers will be focused on catching distracted drivers and issuing citations.

April is also a good time to correct some common misconceptions about distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, for instance, about 80 percent of Americans believe that it is safer to use a hands-free device than a handheld cellphone. In reality, the risk is essentially the same, because the brain is distracted by both. This has been demonstrated in some 30 studies to date.

If you drive (and most of us do), please do your part this month and every month to make sure that you are always distraction-free behind the wheel. And if you are the parent of a teen driver, this month is the perfect time to start or revisit conversations about the dangers of distracted driving.

Source: Kern Golden Empire, "CHP cracking down on distracted drivers," April 1, 2015

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