PRESS RELEASE

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

12/15/2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 121521-4
Subject:
City Receives Distracted Driving Prevention Grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety
Contact:
Lara Turnbull
562.570.4294
Lara.Turnbull@longbeach.gov
Acting Bureau Manager, Community Health
Department of Health and Human Services




Long Beach, CA – The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has been awarded a $180,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to continue the City’s Distracted Driving Prevention Program. The grant expands upon the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Division’s GreenlightLB Program to include educational and awareness activities focused on reducing distracted driving related collisions.  

“Public health prevention strategies are an essential part of the traffic safety equation in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. 

This is the second year the City has received an OTS grant to continue its distracted driving prevention efforts. Grant funds will be used to support a variety of strategies including the development of a Youth Ambassador Programan effort focused on peer-to-peer education among middle school and high school students to increase awareness surrounding the dangers of texting and driving. In addition, the Health Department will use funds to: 

  • Conduct in-person and/or virtual teen driving education opportunities for parents and providers to promote safe, distraction-free and responsible driving behaviors among teens. 
  • Collect and evaluate local data related to distracted driving to inform future program efforts and measure changes to safe driving behavior over time. 
  • Develop and disseminate age and culturally appropriate educational resources through print and digital media. 

In partnership with other City departments and community partners, funding also will support the coordination and collaboration efforts to promote the annual Long Beach Safe Streets Awareness Week, National Teen Driver Safety Week and support larger citywide efforts that aim to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in Long Beach.  

“The last couple years have brought a lot of distraction and change to our lives, but when we're behind the wheel, it’s important we focus on one task: safe driving,” Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy said. “The efforts funded by this grant will model safe driving behaviors for youth and help curb dangerous driving behaviors so that everyone can make informed driving decisions that keep Long Beach streets safer for everyone.” 

Driving while distracted makes it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for teen drivers. Phone-related distractions are the leading cause of teen crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows a 10% increase in distracted driving related crashes from 2018 to 2019. In Long Beach, nearly 1,000 drivers were observed using a handheld device during the City’s distracted driving assessment earlier this year 

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.