PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

11/10/2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 111020
Subject:
City Awarded $160,000 Grant to Launch New Distracted Driving Prevention Program
Contact:
Lara Turnbull
Acting Community Health Bureau Manager
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Lara.Turnbull@longbeach.gov




Long Beach, CA - The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has been awarded a $160,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to launch the City’s first Distracted Driving Prevention Program, which will offer education and awareness activities focused on reducing collisions related to distracted driving.

The grant will be used to build on the City’s GreenlightLB Program, which provides health and safety information related to cannabis, and supports a variety of strategies to help prevent distracted driving. The new program will include the development and implementation of a citywide DriveSafeLB campaign, an effort focused on changing the behavior of drivers through public awareness, education and informed decision-making. In addition, as permitted by the City’s Health Order, the funds will be used to:

  • Conduct in person, and/or virtual, education opportunities for youth and young adults to promote safe, distraction free, responsible driving behaviors.
  • Develop and disseminate age and culturally appropriate educational resources through print and digital media.
  • Collect and evaluate local data related to distracted driving, which will be used to inform future program efforts and measure changes to safe driving behavior over time.

In partnership with various City departments and community partners, funding will also support coordination and collaboration efforts to promote Safe Streets Awareness Week and National Teen Safety Week, as well as larger citywide efforts that focus on eliminating traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in Long Beach.

“Not only is holding your phone while driving illegal in the State of California, distracted driving is now the number one cause of roadway crashes,” said Health Department Director Kelly Colopy. “The efforts funded by this grant will set social norms for our youth, curb dangerous driving behaviors and help everyone make informed decisions making Long Beach streets safer for everyone.”

Distracted driving is one of the fastest growing safety issues on the roads today. Distracted drivers are not just a threat to themselves, but they are a danger to everyone on the road. Driving while distracted makes it difficult to react during a potential crash, and is one of the leading causes of car accidents in teenagers and young drivers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showed that in 2018, 400,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers, including those who were texting and driving. The findings also revealed that hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among drivers ages 15 to 29 years old. 

The Distracted Driving Prevention Program will encourage safe driving behaviors to help avoid the risks that come from multitasking while driving and prevent the incidence of death and injury caused by distracted driving in Long Beach.

“Distractions and driving don’t ever mix,” said OTS Director Barbara Rooney. “The goal is to get the public to make a commitment to avoiding distractions on the road.”

About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 480,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly rated school district, Long Beach Airport and the Port of Long Beach. The City also has a highly respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 171 parks, miles of beaches, marinas and bike paths.

For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

###