As part of Designated Driving Awareness Month by the Office of Traffic Safety, the Chula Vista Police Department on April 9 informed the community about the dangers of distracted driving at a distracted driving awareness event.
Police officer Margarita Walker said there is much more to distracted driving than not using a hands-free mobile device.
“Distracted driving is a very broad term, it incorporates many things which include putting on your makeup while you’re driving, having your pets on your lap while you’re driving, eating, reading the newspaper and of course using your cell phone,” she said.
“Talking on your cell phone, texting, I’ve seen people facebooking while driving and sadly way too many selfies while driving.”
Walker said the annual awareness campaign is making a difference in the community as the number of distracted driving citations has decreased in the first three months of 2014, compared to that of the first three months of 2013.
For the months of January, February and March of this year, 250 distracted driving citations were handed out by the Chula Vista Police Department, which is a decrease from the 414 distracted driving citations that were issued during the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by the Chula Vista Police Department.
In all, the Chula Vista Police Department gave 1,465 cell phone citations to motorists in 2013, a number Walker said needs to be reduced.
“Last year officers from the Chula Vista Police Department issued close to 1,500 cell phone violation citations,” she said. “We hope one day this number will be zero.”
She also said a ticket can often serve as a reminder about the dangers of distracted driving.
“I know no one wants to receive a ticket,” she said.
“But I would rather issue you a citation providing the strong reminder of how unsafe driving while using your cell phone truly is, than to respond to a collision or fatality caused by you using your cell phone while driving.”