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California's "It's Not Worth It!" Campaign Kicks Off with National Distracted Driving Month

Craig McClellan

Did you know that it takes, on average, four seconds for drivers to glance down at their cell phones? But it takes less than four seconds for an accident to occur.

The resolution to make April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. The resolution was first proposed by the founder of FocusDriven, an organization that supports cell-free driving. After her 9-year-old daughter was struck and killed by a distracted driver, a woman founded the organization in hopes that it would bring awareness to distracted driving.

For the second year in a row, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has joined up with local law enforcement agencies throughout the state of California to implement its "It's Not Worth It!" campaign. According to statistics compiled by the OTS, drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into injury-causing car accidents.

The OTS is working hard to get the word out about how driver distractions are becoming a leading factor in fatal and serious accidents, with cell phones as the number one source of such electronic distractions.

In 2010, the state of California saw 2,715 fatal car accidents. It is unknown how many of these involved cell phone use or distracted driving, but 62 percent of Californians stated last year that texting and talking are the biggest traffic safety problems in the state.

Handheld cell phone use by commercial drivers, including drivers of buses, semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, was banned by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2011. In addition to the federal law, the state of California also has its own laws banning texting and handheld cell phone use for all drivers. Additionally, all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) has been banned for bus drivers in California and for novice drivers (newly licensed drivers under a certain age).