Cell phone use leading cause of distracted driving - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Cell phone use leading cause of distracted driving

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Law enforcement agencies are cracking down and are raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

CHP officer Mary Bailey says there will be more officers out looking for drivers not paying attention to the road, eating, reading and putting on make-up.

"We see people doing everything from eating cereal, painting toenails, shaving. We're regular people, we see everything everyone else sees," Bailey said.

Talking on a cell phone, your risk for having an accident increases four times. That's the same as having a .08 blood alcohol level, which is legally drunk in California. And texting, your risk goes up 16 times.

"Turn your cell phone off when you get in the car. Put it in the trunk, put it on airplane mode," Bailey said.

UCSD's Dr. Linda Hill just headed up a survey of 715 drivers between the ages of 30 and 64. Fifty-six percent of them admit to driving with a phone in their hand. Twenty-two percent admit to texting, and many of them do it with their kids in the car.

"We know that even though kids pretend they're not paying attention, they're looking at what their parents are doing. If their parents smoke, they're more likely to take up smoking. So if the parents are modeling distracted driving, they're going to think that's an OK behavior," Hill said.

As for using your GPS, A Fresno driver took his ticket all the way to an appellate court, which ruled the primary evil sought to be avoided is the distraction the driver faces when using his or her hands to operate the phone. That distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock, or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails.

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