On Duty with the CHP: Making a video about distracted driving

One of the more interesting challenges of being a community outreach officer is keeping the various messages of the California Highway Patrol original. The CHP is always trying new approaches to deliver traffic safety messages. We aren’t the only ones with this problem. Companies selling various products do the same thing with new and intriguing commercials about an item which is anything but new. The difference between the CHP and a corporation is we are not trying to sell anything; we are trying to save lives.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distracted driving includes talking on your cell phone, reading maps, texting, eating, applying makeup, shaving, etc. I started thinking about how to get out the word back in January. That is when I decided to make a public service announcement.

When I pitched the idea of filming three or four PSAs, and my bosses gave me the go-ahead, let’s just say I was nervous. I wanted to include our partners, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the Fresno Fire Department, who were happy to help. I contacted our headquarters in Sacramento and officials there agreed to help, too. I was off to a great start.

Three months later, we were filming. Thanks to CHP Chief Jim Abrames, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.

Looking into the camera and reading 12 seconds worth of lines was one of the biggest non-enforcement-related challenges I have had on the CHP. It took me at least 15 attempts before I got it right!

You might wonder why I asked our partners in Fresno County to assist in making these PSAs. When it comes to warning people about distracted driving, it becomes a universal issue. Fire departments definitely see the pain and destruction caused by traffic collisions. The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes drivers who cause injury collisions associated with distracted driving.

We all see the effects daily: citations, collisions, injuries, fatalities, family notifications, trials and incarcerations. I asked our allies for assistance because I wanted you, the viewer/reader, to understand Distracted Driving Awareness month is not about the CHP writing more tickets, it is about everyone in public service asking motor vehicle drivers to “Silence the Distractions” and drive.

Distracted driving collisions are 100% preventable. Please spread the word, share the videos, let your friends and family know you focus on driving and they should, too.

Central Division Community Outreach Officer Singer reminds everyone, Distracted Driving is the #1 killer of teens in America! April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Law Enforcement nationwide will be vigilant in enforcing all cell phone violations. "It's not worth it!"

Posted by CHP – Central Division on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The CHP and Fresno Fire Chief, Kerri Donis reminds us all that Distracted Driving Collisions are 100% preventable! Put the cell phone down and drive. "It's not worth it!"

Posted by CHP – Central Division on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and the CHP remind everyone to please make driving your priority and not just another distraction!

Posted by CHP – Central Division on Monday, April 6, 2015