Driver inattention is a growing issue leading to fatalities. Recent studies have found more than 660,000 drivers are using an electronic device at any time in the U.S. The California Office of Traffic Safety identifies that 80% of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention, and cell phone/texting is the No. 1 source of distraction.
San Francisco's Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024, uses a data-driven focus to deal with the behaviors and street designs that result in severe and fatal collisions. Because officers need proof or admission of distraction to include it as a collision factor, many collision reports do not include citations for distracted driving, making local data difficult to obtain. This program aims to leverage existing anti-distracted driving multi-media campaigns.
Vision Zero San Francisco: Distracted Driving uses high-visibility enforcement efforts to emphasize the danger of distracted driving and the fact that San Francisco police officers take the issue seriously and are citing people. A January 2017 California law prohibits texting, handheld phone calls and any manipulation of the electronic device with one's hands while driving, but assistance is needed with compliance.
San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency, Police Department and Department of Public Health will leverage anti-distracted driving marketing programs to help. They will:
- Use surveys and focus groups to understand the public's thinking
- Identify better outreach tools
- Develop messaging that changes behavior
- Develop paid and earned media
- Develop materials for SFPD to distribute
- Work with mobile phone providers and others to change behavior
San Francisco has committed to intense and meaningful evaluation of projects to ensure data collected provides meaningful feedback on the impacts of the programs and that they are implemented rigorously.