By Mary O’KEEFE
Driving down Verdugo Road motorists will notice a crashed vehicle near the Oakmont Country Club turn off and an overturned vehicle just past Glendale Community College.
The vehicles are not waiting for a tow truck but are part of the Glendale Police Department’s Driven 2 Distraction campaign.
Throughout the city of Glendale wrecked cars have been displayed with signs that warn of texting while driving.
Sgt. Pete Pressnall said he has seen drivers talking on the phone, and then try to hide it when the officer pulls them
“I have [stopped a driver] and had them throw the phone on the passenger seat but they forgot to disconnect so the person is still on the line,” he said.
Pressnall said distracted drivers come from all age groups.
“Maybe not seniors but 40 and 50-year-olds will be texting, and younger drivers too,” he said.
Because of the technology- driven world many drivers feel they can drive safely while texting or holding their phone to their ear.
“Most people can’t multi-task as well as they think,” Pressnall said.
Car companies have made it easier to be hands free but even that is a distraction. The officer thinks the car companies will begin to pull back on making it easier to use cellphones while driving.
The campaign is in response to a number of traffic accidents throughout Glendale. From Dec. 1, 2009 to Dec. 1, 2010, there were a total of 2,347 vehicle accidents in Glendale. Of that number, 661 were reported injuries, 59 were pedestrian related and six were fatal.
Police feel this type of educational outreach does make drivers aware of distraction consequences. A similar display was placed in an area of Glendale that had experienced several accidents. After the display was up for a few weeks the accidents dramatically dropped, said Sgt. Tom Lorenz.