ASSE CA Official Applauds Local Crackdown on Driving While Texting
|LONG BEACH, CA (April 4, 2011) — American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) President-Elect Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CPSI, of Long Beach, CA, today applauded law enforcement efforts to crack down on California’s cell phone use while driving laws.
As part of efforts by local police departments statewide to support Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, police officers will be allowing “zero tolerance” to motorists who send text messages or operate handheld cell phones. Police officials have said that drivers who break that law, thereby putting others in danger, will be cited a minimum of $159 for the first offense and at least $279 for subsequent tickets.
“Transportation crashes continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths in the U.S. alone,” Norris said today. “Stir in people driving while texting and using a cell phone and you have a recipe for more fatalities and injuries on the roads. Who do you think pays for that? First, the people that lose loved ones will always have a hole in their hearts. But we all pay. For instance, motor vehicle crashes cost employers 60 billion dollars every year in medical care, legal expenses, property damages, lost productivity and much more. Overall, transportation crashes cost us $170 billion a year. “
Norris noted that in the coming months roadway construction will be up and the summer travel season is just around the corner, thereby motorists must remember to obey traffic safety laws. Distracted driving is a serious hazard Norris said.
“We must all do our part to prevent roadway crashes,” she said. “Focusing on the road, not being distracted, not driving while drowsy and wearing seatbelts are just some of the things motorists can do. Many companies with the help of their occupational safety and health professionals have developed and implemented successful driver safety programs that not only protect their employees, but also help their bottom line.”
California law enforcement officials note that cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that they are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance. Law-enforcement agencies throughout the state are increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting. In April, more than 225 local police agencies and the 103 California Highway Patrol commands will be conducting zero-tolerance enforcement operations.
“ASSE and its more than 33,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professionals salute law enforcement officials for enforcing traffic safety laws,” Norris said. “Motorists have to do their part as well. An incident can occur in the blink of an eye changing a life forever.”
Statistics show that drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, officials note.
For years members of the ASSE, occupational safety, health and environmental professionals, have worked at protecting all employees including those whose job it is to be on the road such as truck drivers, utility vehicle drivers, along with those such as police officers and ambulance drivers where the road can be their workplace. The roadway is not a closed environment. Although employers cannot control roadway conditions they can promote safe driving by providing safety information to workers and by setting driver safety policies. For more information on this please go to http://www.asse.org/newsroom/presskit/docs/409349_DriveSafetyBrochure.pdf.
Founded in 1911 and celebrating its centennial, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 33,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, healthcare and education. To view the ASSE – A Century of Safety film go to www.asse.org/assecenturyofsafety.