Local agencies crack down on distracted drivers during the month of April

YREKA, Calif. — The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Police officers in southern Oregon and northern California are working to keep you safe. Officer Shawn Gordon with California Highway Patrol sees distracted drivers every day.

“People are so distracted when they are on their phones, they don’t even notice a police car right in front of them,” he said.

California Highway Patrol and other agencies across the nation are cracking down on those drivers all month long.

“People talking on their phones, texting on their phones, changing the music while they’re driving—they try and hide it so they hold it way down far in their lap and they’re looking down while driving,” he said.

NBC5 News got an inside look Thursday morning on a ride-a-long. Within an hour, CHP pulled over half a dozen drivers.

“People are dying every day from distracted driving, teenagers are one of the most affected groups by this,” he said.

Gordon said about 4,000 teenagers die in the U.S from distracted driving each year which is about 11 per day.

“One of the most important things anybody can do is hand their phone over to their passenger, text messages, phone calls whatever it may be,” he said.

Officer Gordon recommends changing the settings of your phone to avoid the distraction of notifications or even turn your phone off while driving.

“It only takes one accident to injure somebody, damage property, to cause a fatality accident. You never know when it’s going to happen, it just happens, that’s why distracted driving should never be done,” he said.

Several southern Oregon law enforcement agencies are also ramping up distracted driving patrols this month including Medford, Talent, and Ashland Police Department as well as the Jackson and Klamath County sheriff’s offices.

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