SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Distracted driving is a growing problem, particularly among teenagers. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is embarking on a yearlong comprehensive campaign to discourage teens from driving while distracted. This announcement aligns with National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs from October 15-21, 2023.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for teens in the United States. California is home to more than 800,000 licensed teenage drivers. Sadly, thousands of the state’s drivers between 15-19 years of age are involved in fatal and injury crashes every year. According to data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2021 there were more than 17,000 fatal and injury crashes involving teen drivers.
Through the grant-supported Teen Distracted Driving initiative, the CHP is dedicated to promoting safe and responsible driving practices with the goal of helping teen drivers remain focused on the road to avoid becoming another statistic.
"A combination of driver inexperience and distraction behind the wheel can lead to a lifetime of consequences,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “The dangers associated with driving distracted are not worth the text, call, or fleeting distraction. It's a careless choice that can change lives forever."
Everyday activities like using a cell phone, eating, drinking, adjusting the stereo, or chatting with friends, pose life-threatening risks when done behind the wheel and can have an impact on all road users.
The Teen Distracted Driving program encompasses an educational element that enables CHP officers and traffic safety collaborators to participate in school and community events across the state. Enforcement efforts targeting distracted driving will be carried out during both National Teen Driver Safety Week in October and National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.