CHP cracking down on distracted drivers

April is Distracted Driving Month across the nation and the California Highway Patrol has been busy enforcing law restricting the use of cell phones or anything that keeps a driver's eyes and attention off the road.

They are not letting people off with a warning.

"If you get stopped for distracted driving, there's a 99 percent chance you're going to get a ticket," CHP officer Adam Taylor told the Taft Rotary Club last week.

In Kern County, CHP officers have written more than 700 citations through the first eight days of April.

The majority (475) came out of Bakersfield, the largest CHP office in the county.

Officers from the Fort Tejon office have issued 116 citations and Buttonwillow officers, who patrol the Taft area, have written 102.

Those numbers were released Monday morning.

Driving while talking is more dangerous than people think, he said.
Studies have shown drivers on the phone have reaction times slower than people with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, the threshold for a drunk driving arrest.

"Cell phones are a major distraction but anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is both unsafe and illegal. Statistics show that you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision if talking on your phone," Taylor said. "Those numbers double to eight times if you are texting and driving."

CHP statewide will be participating in the month-long campaign by aggressively enforcing distracted driving laws and providing informational presentations to the public. Organizations in Western Kern County can contact Taylor, the Buttonwillow CHP public information officer at (661)764-5580 to set up a presentation.