The multi-agency group stood together to show local support for the nationwide campaign, in its third year, designed to remind motorists of how dangerous it is to drive especially while texting or talking on their cell phones. During the month of April, the agencies represented at the conference announced their commitment to be on the lookout and cite inattentive drivers, without warning, who are a danger to themselves and others on the road.
In 2011 alone, its estimated more than three thousand people were killed in crashes involving a distract driver and an additional 387,000 people were injured in a motor vehicle involving a distracted driver. Sheriff Bill Brown said, “We have experienced far too many distracted driver-related fatal and injury accidents right here in Santa Barbara County. Such tragedies are 100% preventable. The consequences of texting and driving can kill innocent victims and leave a lifetime of sorrow and regret for others, including the surviving distracted driver.” California Highway Patrol Captain Marty Maples said, “We hope once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits.”
The Zero Tolerance Distracted Driving Enforcement Operation begins April 1st and runs through April 30th. Drivers who are caught using a cellphone without a hands free device or are texting and driving or seen doing any activity which distracts from their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle will get a ticket. Last April, more than 157,000 tickets were written statewide for texting and hand-held cell use.
Today the Sheriff’s Office released a thirty second Distracted Driver Awareness Public Service Announcement Video. The PSA is available to view on the Sheriff’s Office website at www.sbsheriff.org or on our Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office facebook page.