On Tuesday, California Highway Patrol Captain Josh Ehlers and Department of Motor Vehicles Director Jean Shiomoto participated in Allstate’s Reality Rides event along with Assembly Member Jim Frazier to encourage drivers to practice safe driving habits.
Distracted driving results in over 3,000 deaths and causes over 400,000 injuries each year. It is the number one cause of death in Americans between the ages of 11 and 27. DMV researchers have found that drivers with multiple cell phone violations on their records experience almost twice as many subsequent crashes as drivers with no violations. Research has also shown that receiving a text or phone call, even if you do not answer or look at the phone, can be a significant distraction while driving.
CHP Captain Josh Elhers asked that drivers with more experience lead by example for teenagers and inexperienced drivers by putting away their phones and practicing safe driving behaviors behind the wheel.
DMV Director Jean Shiomoto shared the important statistics on the dangers of distracted driving and reminded the community that DMV is committed to educating the public on these dangers through their handbooks and Fast Facts. “Distracted driving could put you, and anyone you know, in danger,” Shiomoto said.
Allstate is touring the country with its distracted driving simulator with the goal of preventing avoidable collisions and building awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The stationary car is equipped with virtual-reality technology that displays a responsive animated environment on a LED television embedded in the windshield. Using the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, participants attempted to drive while they tried to text.
DMV’s Deputy Director of Communications, Jessica Gonzalez went on a test drive of the simulator to show us just how dangerous distracted driving can be. After the simulation was over, she received an example citation which showed all the infractions she had committed. Participants also took a pledge to “X the Text” and commit to putting away their phone while behind the wheel.
In addition to the simulator, DMV and CHP staff were on hand at informational booths to hand out materials on safe driving and answer questions from the community.