Hey, California Drivers: Yes, You Really Did That!


Oct 18, 2011, 12:23 ET from The Allstate Corporation

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Distracted driving is a bad habit and indications across California reveal that many drivers have room to improve. One week ago today students monitoring 62 intersections near high schools across California observed more than 6,700 cases of distracted driving in merely one hour's time, an average of more than 100 instances of distracted driving.

Distractions during this learning-focused Allstate Roadwatch ranged from the ordinary—cellphone use as either texting or not using a hands-free device—to the extraordinary—kissing, writing and feeding children who were riding in the car.

Driven by a desire to improve traffic safety in their neighborhoods, and empowered by the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP), students compiled startling statistics from among thousands of vehicles they observed with both attentive and distracted drivers.

On average, there were 108 instances of distracted driving at each intersection during the one hour monitored. The top distractions are no surprise; each is avoidable.

- Eating or Drinking:


29 - per site average

- Using cellphone without hands-free device:


19 - per site average

- Texting or reading cellphone:


17 - per site average

- Personal grooming:


9 - per site average

Distractions Defined

More than just cellphone use, distracted driving is categorized by California Highway Patrol (CHP) as a range of activities that impact a driver's visual, auditory, physical or cognitive abilities when driving.

"When behind the wheel, any distraction can be serious, even life-threatening," says CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Too many lives are destroyed every year because of distracted driving."

Allstate and CFNLP produced this Allstate Roadwatch to raise awareness among adult and teen drivers and all communities about the importance of eliminating distractions while driving.

"Reducing distractions behind the wheel is something we all can do—it costs nothing and its savings are enormous," urges Phil Telgenhoff, Field Vice President of Allstate in California. "When we choose to drive safer, we improve the safety of everyone on the road at the same time."

"Engaging California's young people like this encourages their positive and healthy development and empowers them to become active leaders," says Jim Kooler, California Friday Night Live Partnership Director. "Programs like our annual traffic safety summit and this Allstate Roadwatch allow California youths to lead their peers in reducing distracted driving collisions."

Not Just Cellphones

Additional driving distractions observed by Allstate Roadwatch participants:

- Smoking:


7 - per site average

- Extreme volume on radio:


6 - per site average

- Reaching into passenger/back seat:


3 - per site average

- Wearing headphones:


3 - per site average

- Reading:


1 - per site average

- Other distractions (not specified)


2 - per site average

In Redding, a couple was observed kissing. In Stockton, children passengers were fed by drivers. In Santa Cruz County a driver was seen writing.

Here are some market-by-market totals:

- Sacramento/San Joaquin/

  Stanislaus/Sutter counties:

16 sites = 2,055 distractions

- Santa Cruz/San Mateo counties:

6 sites =      818 distractions

- Fresno/Tulare counties

8 sites =   1,261 distractions

- Glenn/Lassen/Shasta counties

8 sites =      606 distractions

According to CHP, there were 116 traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving in California in 2009. More than 17,000 other people were injured under similar circumstances.

Active in 54 counties statewide, California Friday Night Live Partnership engages young people to become active leaders and resources in their communities.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer known for its "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.

SOURCE The Allstate Corporation