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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 111522
Long Beach Health Department Awarded $190,000 Grant to Expand Distracted Driving Prevention Program
Jennifer Rice Epstein
Public Affairs Officer
Department of Health and Human Services

Long Beach, CA – The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has been awarded a $190,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reduce distracted driving related collisions. The Distracted Driving Prevention Program encourages 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.

“Public health prevention programs such as these build on our Citywide goal to eliminate preventable traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2026,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people died and an estimated 324,652 people were injured in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. in 2020, which is the most recent year for which data is available.

The Distracted Driving Prevention Program, which is part of  GreenlightLB, will use grant funds to support a variety of educational activities and behavior changing strategies to reduce distracted driving. Funds received will support activities between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sep. 30, 2023, including:

  • A partnership with community leaders to provide neighborhood organizations with tools to promote positive change and reduce distracted driving on local streets.
  • Supporting the department’s Youth Ambassador program, focused on peer-to-peer education among high school-aged students to increase awareness and education surrounding the dangers of texting and driving.
  • Reducing health disparities and promote health equity through expanded partnerships and provide bilingual and bicultural distracted driving education.
  • In-person and virtual teen driving education opportunities for parents and providers to promote safe, distraction free, responsible driving behaviors.
  • Collecting and evaluating local data related to distracted driving to inform future program efforts and measure changes to safe driving behavior over time.
  • Developing and disseminating age- and culturally appropriate educational resources through print and digital media.

“Everyone has the right to safely travel on our streets no matter where they are going or how they get there,” Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy said. “The efforts funded by this grant will empower our community to make informed decisions that keep Long Beach streets safer for everyone.”

“Silence your phone and put it away while driving,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “It is a simple, yet significant action that keeps yourself and others on the road safe.”

This is the third year the City has received an OTS grant to continue its distracted driving prevention efforts, which aligns with goals identified in the City’s Safe Streets Action Plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries citywide.

Last year, the Health Department used the funding to conduct a number of activities, including a citywide assessment of intersections across Long Beach; collecting more than 400 surveys from residents; a multimodal education campaign to encourage safe interactions among road users throughout Long Beach; and the annual Long Beach Safe Streets Awareness Week in partnership with other City departments.