San Diegans And Distracted Driving
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Aired 4/10/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Dr. Linda Hill, clinical professor in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine
Officer Mary Bailey, California Highway Patril
While many states, including California, have made it illegal to use a hand-held cellphone or text while driving, it's still the number one reason behind distracted driving crashes in our state.
There were approximately 3,300 deaths and 400,000 injuries nationwide in 2011 due to collisions involving distracted driving, according to experts in the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at the University of California School of Medicine.
A new survey aimed at finding trends and habits of San Diego drivers reveals some startling findings.
Many San Diegans now use hands-free devices while driving – 92 percent, according to the Adult Cell Phone Survey, but 56 percent are still using a hand-held phone. Adults with children under 11 in the car report they were significantly more likely to text and to talk on their hand-held phone.
Dr. Linda Hill, clinical professor in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine led the research. She says the goal of the survey "is to understand distracted driving behavior and work on strategies to improve road safety."
More than 700 San Diegans participated.
Distracted driving isn't limited to cellphone use or texting. According to the California Highway Patrol, anything from drinking coffee to managing children can take your mind off the road at a critical moment.
"Studies have shown that phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold," says Dr. Hill, "with hands-free and hand-held devices equally dangerous."
Meanwhile, legislation is trying to catch up with technology. A bill has been introduced in Sacramento that would ban hands-free texting while driving.