California has begun a distracted driving campaign to reduce risky behavior on its freeways. - Photo via Doug Kerr/Flickr.

California has begun a distracted driving campaign to reduce risky behavior on its freeways.

Photo via Doug Kerr/Flickr.

The California Highway Patrol and state Office of Traffic Safety kicked off a distracted driving campaign on Oct. 1 in an effort to combat the problem, reports the Santa Clara Valley Signal.

The goal of the initiative is to change dangerous habits of adult drivers — including texting and talking on the phone while behind the wheel — through a combination of educational and enforcement efforts.

Participating CHP officers are expected to implement a minimum of 100 distracted driving enforcement operations and conduct at least 600 traffic safety presentations statewide, notes the report.

The new campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In California, which has some of the strictest distracted driving laws, there were more than 178,000 cell phone use convictions and more than 31,000 convictions for texting while driving in 2016 alone, according to data from Willoughby Brod.

Nationwide, distracted driving remains a serous problem on the roadways. In a March 2018 survey by the AAA Foundation, 60.5% of drivers admitted to talking on a hands-free cellphone in the previous month, while 49.1% said they talked on a hand-held cellphone.

In 2017, 3,166 people lost their lives due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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