Throughout the month of April, the Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section conducted directed enforcement programs aimed at curbing distracted driving. April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month, and on Friday, April 26, the Traffic Section wrapped up its final operation aimed specifically at encouraging drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
“These operations hit especially close to home for the officers who responded to a fatal collision that took place in 2016 that was directly linked to distracted driving,” said Traffic Section Lieutenant Mark Goodman. The lives of several people were dramatically changed in the early morning hours of January 12, 2016, when a 19 year-old man ran a red light while speeding and watching a music video on his cell phone. The collision killed a 41 year-old mother and her 18 year-old daughter who were less than three blocks from home. The incident sent the man to prison for five years. “Most people do not understand the danger and potential life changing dynamics involved with checking a text message or looking at a cell phone while driving,” said Goodman.
Four enforcement programs were conducted throughout the month and 639 citations were issued during those four days, over 50% of which were for texting while driving. “This is an especially dangerous habit,” said Lieutenant Goodman, “as looking at or replying to a text requires you to take your eyes off of the road.” “A vehicle can travel hundreds of feet in just a few seconds, essentially driving blind, while a motorists looks at a cell phone,” said Goodman. “The results can be deadly!”
Officers conducted enforcement at various locations during the four programs. The programs netted a total of 363 citations for texting and driving, 89 people were cited for failing to use a hands free device while talking on a cell phone and 187 people were cited for other violations observed by officers during the operation.
“Our officers write citations almost daily to people who are texting and driving or failing to use a hands free device,” said Goodman. “While we may focus resources specifically on distracted driving during the month of April, rest assured that our ongoing focus on traffic safety, including distracted driving, happens throughout the year. Our goal is to make Pasadena a safer place to drive, walk, and bike every day.”
Funding for these traffic enforcement programs was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.