The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station are cracking down on distracted driving with what the city is calling saturation operations in West Hollywood to encourage safety among drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The Distracted Driver and Vehicle Safety Operations will take place on Thursday, May 17 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Operations will take place on Monday, May 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Deputies from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station will issue citations for handheld phone calls, texting while driving, throwing waste out of moving vehicles, driving without headlights, illegal turns, not stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and jaywalking, among other infractions. A focus of publicizing these saturation operations in advance is to increase awareness of the dangers of driving, cycling, and walking while distracted and to encourage community members to embrace safe habits.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 3,450 people were killed in 2016 due to distracted driving and, in 2015, 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving. Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel; visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road; and cognitive distractions are those wherein one’s mind wanders away from the task of driving. Texting is the most startling, as it involves all three types of distraction. Sending or reading a text message takes one’s eyes off the road for five full seconds. At 55 miles per hour, driving for five seconds is equivalent to the length of an entire football field.
To raise awareness about distracted driving and pedestrian safety, the City of West Hollywood produced Alice in WeHoLand, which is a humorous West Hollywood-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off conceived by YouTube sensation Todrick Hall. The public service announcement has received nearly two-million views and is posted on youtu.be/4OCPSYRfT6o.
For more information, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Department at (323) 848-6414.