Authorities in Sacramento are receiving $1.5 million in federal money which will support law enforcement efforts to prevent texting while driving car accidents. Texting is a leading cause of distracted driving car accidents, which kill over 3,000 people annually. Despite being illegal in California, millions of drivers text every day and state studies have shown that over 10 percent of California are using their cellphones during any given daytime hour.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured — and we can put an end to it.”
LaHood announced that the federal government will provide about $1.5 million to Sacramento-area law enforcement officials as part of a “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other,” campaign. The money will be used for anti-texting PSAs and increased patrols.
“We’re coupling extra officers with a lot of media coverage to let people know distracted driving is dangerous and law enforcement will catch you,” said a spokesman for the Office of Traffic Safety.
Some safety experts say that the money will help, but that more severe penalties are the only way to truly stop texting while driving.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Distracted driving: California gets $1.5 million to keep eyes on road,” Jamie Goldberg, June 8, 2012