Many safe drivers navigate California roadways every day. Unfortunately, even a moment of distraction — including the short amount of time it takes to read a text message — can have serious consequences, sometimes resulting in fatal car accidents. In an attempt to bring awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, the California Highway Patrol has made the month of April California Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

A California survey conducted in 2014 indicates that a large portion of respondents believe that texting or talking while driving is a serious distraction. In fact, over 60 percent of respondents claim that they had either been hit or almost hit by a driver who was either texting or talking on his or her cell phone. To underscore the seriousness of the problem, the Centers for Disease Control says that in 2013, over 3,000 people were killed in a car crash that involved a driver who was distracted.

While the entire month is dedicated to targeting distracted drivers, police will be especially targeting such drivers in the first two weeks of the month. In April 2013, the Department of Motor Vehicles claims that police issued 57,000 tickets for such an offense. There were 426,000 convictions involving drivers using handheld devices — including talking and texting — in 2014.

The efforts made by the California Highway Patrol could potentially reduce the number of people killed or injured as a result of car accidents caused by distracted drivers. Unfortunately, there are those who are already suffering, either as the result of personal injuries or due to the loss of a loved one, as a result of a driver who negligently chose to use his or her cell phone while behind the wheel. These victims often suffer financial harm as a result of lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses, prompting many to file a lawsuit against the driver. If negligence claims can be proved, victims could be awarded damages to help them cope with these expenses.

Source: bigbeargrizzly.net, “April is ‘Distracted Driving Month,’ says CHP“, April 5, 2016