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5 Driver Safety Tips from the LAPD (Even If You Think You’ve Heard It All)

Photo: Courtesy of the NYPD

Every year, more than 200 people are killed in traffic accidents on Los Angeles roads. LAPD Detective William Bustos is working to reduce that number to zero by 2025 through the city’s Vision Zero initiative, but he says it will only happen if the entire community abides by the rules of the road. Here are five things he wants drivers to bear in mind before getting behind the wheel:

1. Running late is dangerous

Speed is the primary cause of collision, and speeding often occurs because people do not give themselves sufficient time to get to their destinations. When drivers feel rushed, mistakes happen. A little preparation can help. For example, parents can help children prepare clothing, homework and backpacks the night before school so the morning drive is calm.

2. Cell phone use is an epidemic

The number one cause of distracted driving is cell phone use and a contributing factor to many traffic collisions that result in injury or death. People need to focus on the act of driving because it’s already multitasking enough to look and interpret the signs of the road, as well as the movement of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. If a person must use their phone while driving, they should park legally, make the call or text and then resume their trip.

3. It’s also illegal to drive using a cell phone

Assembly Bill 1785 passed last year, which means drivers can only legally turn a cell phone on or off and swipe it one time during the trip. Unfortunately, we still routinely see drivers holding cell phones and using GPS even though it contributes to numerous traffic collisions.

4. There is a safe way to use GPS

Drivers should know their destination and review their route before departure. It is legal to mount a system on the lower windshield or dashboard and occasionally glance at the navigation screen, but it is very dangerous to hold onto the cell phone while driving.

5. Drunk driving is still a problem

We know people like to celebrate, but we ask that they prepare beforehand and consider how they’ll get home safely if alcohol is a factor. It’s much better to arrange a designated driver or public transport than to wind up in the back of a police car or ambulance.

Jill Cody Smits, [email protected]

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