The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Survey Says Car Stereos are No. 1 Driver Distraction in California

September 18, 2001

Cars stereos top the list of driver distractions that lead to accidents in California, followed closely by cell phones, according to a survey by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Orange County Register reported. The CHP tracked driver distractions from January through April this year. The first numbers show 109 accidents statewide where CD players or radios were listed as a factor, compared with 102 for cell phones. Throughout California, there were 14,000 accidents involving driver inattention, and 344 had a specific distraction listed. After stereos and cell phones, the next most common listed distractions were are children, in-volved in 40 cases; eating, in 34; and reading, in 19. Smoking and electronic devices are next, and the last cause listed – personal hygiene – was a factor in three accidents over the four months. The CHP started tracking the figures in January at the request of the Automobile Club of Southern California, said CHP Commissioner Dwight Helmick. The numbers were not collected previously. The CHP expects to receive better data in coming months as officers continue to list specific dis-tractions, officials said. About a dozen U.S. cities have banned driver use of hand-held cell phones, including New York, which will start citing drivers in December, said Carol Thorp, Automobile Club spokesperson. Although there is no definitive research that shows a direct correlation between hand-held cell phones and crashes, traffic experts say driver distraction is a growing problem.
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