Distracted Driving | A Message from the Thousand Oaks Police Department

The Thousand Oaks Police Department continues to promote traffic safety within the community. In an effort to recognize certain hazards while driving, the Traffic Bureau has started a monthly traffic awareness reminder program, addressing a traffic topic each month. While we focus on a specific topic each month, it’s always imperative to understand and follow all rules of the road. The month of April is dedicated to “Distracted Driving”.

Each year, hundreds of collisions occur in California and a majority of those collisions are caused by a distracted driver. Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the steering wheel, especially texting and cell phone use. These are the most dangerous things we do behind the wheel that many people do not think about because it is so common. Cell phone laws were enacted to help prevent distracted driving. In fact, any driver under the age of 18 cannot use a cell phone or any other electronic wireless device at all, not hand held, hands free, Bluetooth, speaker phone, or any other means.

Here are some important facts you should know:

1. California Vehicle Code section 23123(a) states: A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands free listening and talking and is used in that manner while driving. This section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department or other emergency services agency or entity.

2. California Vehicle Code section 23123.5(a) states: A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice operated and hands free operation to dictate, send or listen to a text based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.

3. California Vehicle Code section 23124(b) states: A person under the age of 18 shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone, or an electronic wireless communications device, even if equipped with a hands-free device. Research indicates 5 seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at a speed of 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.

The Thousand Oaks Traffic Bureau urges citizens to drive safely at all times and without any distractions. Some recommendations from the Thousand Oaks Traffic Bureau include:

• Never text and drive
• Do not text or call someone when you know they are driving
• Do not program your GPS, stereo or other devices while driving
• If a phone call is necessary, pull over to a safe parking spot
• Do not read while driving
• Do not watch videos
• If something falls to the floor, pull over to a safe parking spot before trying to reach for it
• If you have a pet in the car, avoid having it sit on your lap

You can easily be distracted while driving. Today, it seems like there’s always something to look at other than the road. It’s tempting to try to stay connected by texting and driving, or to take a quick look at your GPS, but those actions can cost you your life or cause you to injure or kill someone else. Remember, don’t let a distraction turn deadly. It can wait.

For more information on distracted driving please visit:

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