Officials Warn About Dangers of Distracted Driving

Photo Credit: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and other officials sounded the alarm on the dangers of texting while driving today as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Krekorian appeared with members of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Ad Council and parents of distracted-driving crash victims at a news conference outside the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division headquarters to raise awareness about the issue.

``I'm so proud to partner with these organizations to remind Angelenos not to text and drive,'' Krekorian said.

``California law prohibits people from holding and operating a smartphone while driving, and this public awareness campaign will help reinforce that lifesaving message across the city. There are far too many avoidable collisions that happen each year when people engage in distracted driving, especially texting,'' he said.

In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers nationwide, and at least 25 percent of adults age 16-35 respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, Krekorian's office said.

``Texting while driving is like driving your car with your eyes closed. It's just that simple,'' said Capt. Andrew Neiman of the LAPD Valley Traffic Division.

``Tragedy happens in split seconds and you need all of your attention focused on the road when you're driving. Reacting to a child running into the roadway to retrieve a ball takes the brain about a second and a half. If your brain is texting you won't have that second and a half and that is a tragedy nobody can afford,'' he said.

As part of the awareness campaign, 300 L.A. Department of Transportation DASH and Commuter Express buses throughout Los Angeles will be outfitted with advertisements that say, ``Make Sure You Arrive. Just Drive: Stop Texts, Stop Wrecks.''

``My son Conor was killed by a distracted driver during National Teen Driver Awareness week eight years ago,' said Jeri Dye Lynch, president of the Conor Lynch Foundation. ``It is reprehensible behavior that we have to put a stop to. This education campaign is another important way we can spread the word and encourage good driving behavior.''

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