Cape Breton police cracking down on distracted driving, speeding

Credit Roman Pohorecki

Credit Roman Pohorecki

Activities like texting, answering your phone, putting directions into your Global Positioning System, can distract you from driving safely.

However, a portion of the law also states that it does not apply to the use of hand-held technology in a vehicle when it's in use of an emergency, duties in their occupation or for navigation.

"When a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle they should focus exclusively on driving", said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.

The law went into effect last July, and officers wrote hundreds of tickets in January, when the six-month grace period ended. First offenders can be fined $100.

Peter VanDyne, Milwaukee-based technical director of loss control at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., said there are studies that indicate that people who talk on the phone while driving aren't as productive as they think they are.

Sending or receiving a text message takes a drivers eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving the length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour.

Miami drivers are the most distracted, using a phone once every four miles.

Preliminary 2017 data shows almost 22,000 drivers were involved in distracted-driving collisions in California, a decline from the more than 33,000 drivers involved in distracted-driving collisions in 2007, the last full year before the hands-free law went into effect.

Drivers are more concerned about distracted driving than other risky behaviors, including aggressive driving, drivers using drugs and drunk driving.

"Distracted driving is becoming a serious epidemic as it relates to safety on our roadways". In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

The data was released as the nation recognizes April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. They'll be on high alert, focusing efforts on catching drivers who are talking or texting.

Cruz said it's tough for officers to cite drivers for texting because of the revised code. "Our hope is that by taking the pledge to drive safely, people will be more committed to staying focused on the road, knowing how easy it is for distracted driving to become a risky habit".

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