CHP says driving and using a cell phone isn't worth it

FRESNO, Calif.

A common bond brought these mothers together. All of them have lost a son to distracted driving.

Melani Travioli said, "A split second, one tiny little distraction, things that are common to us that we do all the time can turn disastrous."

Melani's son and his friends took a five mile drive back home from a friend's house, when what seemed like an innocent prank turned into an irreversible mistake.

"He was actually in the back seat and he leaned forward to the driver and he told her, juke the wheel a little bit to wake up his friend," said Melani. "She kind of giggled the wheel and that put her off on the shoulder of the road and she lost control spun out and hit a tree."

It's stories like these that officers hope make an impact on drivers. Since starting their distracted driver awareness program four years ago, the numbers have slowly started to show some areas of improvement. Injury collisions caused by distracted drivers are down by 55% percent. But on a ride along with the CHP it didn't take long before finding drivers on their cell phones.

"Actually I didn't hook up my Bluetooth this time," said ¬Jagdev Singh. "My wife drives this car all the time, I don't."

But according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon just listening to a cell phone decreases your brain activity by 37%, bringing attention to how passengers can be a disturbance as well.

Marta Tessmer added, "Of the statistics that you hear the 4,000 lives teenagers that die every year two thirds of those teenagers are the passengers in that car."

CHP officials say according to their statistics fatalities because of distracted driving is still on the rise. They want to remind drivers that texting and driving or using your cell phone just isn't worth it.

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