The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has been awarded a monetary grant from the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to promote safe driving behaviors for teen drivers. The announcement of the grant coincides with National Teen Driver Safety week October 16-22. The grant includes money for additional enforcement and will allow for CHP officers and traffic safety partners to make appearances at schools and community events throughout the state. Enforcement operations will be conducted during National Teen Driver Safety Week in October and National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.
Traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens nationwide. Research has shown that in addition to driving while using a cell-phone many teens are simultaneously eating, drinking, changing the music and being distracted while talking with friends in the car. Many of these behaviors become life-threatening when combined with driving and distraction. These behaviors also significantly increase the danger to other motorists on the road.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there are over 792,000 licensed teenage drivers statewide and that is a six-percent increase since last year. CHP data indicates that in 2020 alone there were 6,644 fatal and injury crashes statewide involving teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 19. It is this group that has the largest portion of distracted drivers at the time of a fatal crash. CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said “The combination of inattention and inexperience behind the wheel can lead to tragedy. This grant will assist our officers in keeping California’s road safe while addressing California’s distracted driving crisis among the states teens.”
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