You better not be reading this story while driving, police say in April safety campaign


If you’re reading this story from your mobile phone as you drive, five strong words of advice:

Put the phone down now!

Police also urge:

Keep your eyes on the road!

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Anaheim Police Department is joining more than 200 law enforcement agencies statewide to educate motorists — especially young ones — about the dangers of distracted driving.

“Driving takes one’s full attention, and any distraction can have deadly, dangerous consequences,” said Sgt. Garet Bonham of the Anaheim Police Department.

“Imagine driving for four or five seconds while blindfolded — that can be the effect of looking down to send a text message,” Bonham added. “In the average time it takes to check a text message – less than 5 seconds – a car travelling 60 miles per hour will travel more than the length of a football field.”

The campaign is a joint effort of the California Office of Traffic Safety, the California Highway Patrol, Impact Teen Drivers, and participating law enforcement agencies.

California Teen Safe Driving Week kicks off the public education campaign April 1-7. During that week, Impact Teen Drivers will focus on educating teens that their No. 1 killer – reckless and distracted driving – is 100-percent preventable.

“People are realizing that everyday behaviors, such as texting or reaching for a dropped item, can be lethal when done behind the wheel,” said Kelly Browning, executive director of Impact Teen Drivers.

April 1 and April 15 have been earmarked for special statewide high-visibility enforcement days for all law enforcement agencies that are participating in the national traffic safety campaign.

The Office of Traffic Safety is using a message of “Silence the Distraction” in new public service announcements aimed at getting drivers to turn off their phones while driving so they won’t be tempted when their phones beep or chirp.

“No text, call or social media update is worth a crash,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “With an average of less than a second to react to an urgent situation, drivers need to have all their attention on the roadway.”

Added Bonham: “Each of us must drive responsibly, keeping full attention to the task at hand: driving. If you have teenagers in your family who are driving, make sure they understand the laws and what their responsibilities are as well.

“The collective goal with this month-long campaign is to change the behavior of all drivers. That change begins with education.”

For further information or questions regarding the Anaheim Police Department’s involvement in this program, contact Sgt. Bonham at 714-765-1834.