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.