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83% of Adult Still Texting, Talking While Driving; UCSD to Educate San Diego Businesses

UC San Diego joined a nationwide effort to curb phone use while driving. With CHP it will offer training and education to area business on the subject.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

UC San Diego's Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) announced Wednesday that is launching a new distracted driving education program to target the 83 percent of adults that are still texting, talking or using their smartphones while driving.

The program called "Just Drive—Take Action Against Distraction" is a one hour class free of charge offered to businesses in San Diego. 

“Research has shown that talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of collision four-fold, with equal risk attached to hands free and hand held devices. This is the same as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08. Texting increases this risk eight to 16 times,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and TREDS program director in an announcement.

The university explained that TREDS will partner with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to offer San Diego businesses and organizations distracted driving education for their employees as part of safety and wellness programs. Classes include the latest research from national safety experts, information on cell phone laws, real-life examples of individuals affected by cell phone use while driving and resources to help drivers change distracted driving behaviors.

Cell phone laws in California currently include:

  • Absolutely no phone use while driving for anyone under the age of 18-years-old
  • Drivers 18-years-old and older may talk on the phone while driving if using a hands-free device
  • No text-based communication of any kind, including text, e-mail and messaging phone applications
  • No phone-based GPS use, including all phone GPS and mapping applications

A first offense ticket for texting and driving is $162.

Erik Wood December 05, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Text and Drive recently became the #1 killer of teens in the US - more lethal than drunk driving. I think its starting to become clear that legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I also read that over 3/4 of teens text daily - many text more than 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes. Technology needs to be part of the solution and not dismissed as the villain. I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user, I built a texting asset called OTTER that is a simple and intuitive GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. While driving, OTTER silences those distracting call ringtones and chimes unless a bluetooth is enabled. The texting auto reply allows anyone to schedule a ‘texting blackout period’ in any situation like a meeting or a lecture without feeling disconnected. This software is a social messaging tool for the end user that also empowers this same individual to be a sustainably safer driver. Erik Wood, owner OTTER apps (Since 2010. Free) do one thing well... be great.

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