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Citrus Heights PD recommends drivers have “designated texter” to curb distracted driving

By Rylie Friesen-
The Citrus Heights Police Department has joined a nationwide law enforcement effort to warn drivers against distracted driving from April 8-12, encouraging drivers to have a “designated texter.”

“All drivers have the responsibility to drive with care for others,” said Citrus Heights Police Lt. Jason Baldwin in a news release earlier this month. “Texting, messaging, and other forms of distracted driving are increasing habits that put everyone at risk, even those of us in law enforcement. We want drivers to focus on the most important task: hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 26,004 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers between 2012 and 2019. The agency also reported 9% of fatalities nationwide were linked to distracted driving in 2019, an increase over the prior year.

Drivers age 16 to 24 have been reported as the most distracted drivers by the NHTSA, often using cell phones to scroll through social media, call, and text.

The California Vehicle Code prohibits drivers from using mobile devices for texting or calling while driving on a public roadway, including at stoplights. Hands-free systems are permitted, except for drivers under the age of 18, police said. Fines up to $250 can be imposed for violations. An exception exists for calling emergency services.

Police recommend the following tips to ensure safe driving:

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
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