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Study: Distracted Driving A Big Problem, Even Near Schools

Oct 18, 2013

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Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

There’s new evidence that distracted driving is a problem not just on the roadways in general – but specifically around schools.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The California Friday Night Live Partnership and the Allstate Foundation asked high school students to spend an hour counting distracted drivers at nearly 70 schools across the state.

“We were right on the corner of the school.  We were just standing there and watching to see how many people were distracted and how many weren’t," says Fernando Ruiz. He's a junior at Sacramento’s Inderkum High School.  He says he had a very personal reason for wanting to take part in the study:

“When I ride my bike, there’s been a lot of times where the light will go on so I can cross, and some people are not paying attention.  They would almost hit me when they were making a right turn."

Although Ruiz says the majority of people he saw were driving safely, the study found more than 7,000 cases of distracted driving.  Most unsafe drivers were eating, drinking or using their cell phones – but some were putting on makeup, smoking cigarettes or even holding pets on their laps.