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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Fiddle with your mobile device and the advanced technology in your car. Add a cup of coffee and a maple bar. Maybe you're a guy or gal who likes to fix your hair.
People get into an environment that seems comfortable to them -- their car -- but "they forget to drive," California Highway Patrol Capt. Mike Cardoza said Wednesday during an appearance on "First Look with Scott Cox."
These types of distractions can be like driving under the influence of alcohol, the commander of the Bakersfield area said.
His message: Motorists must put everything down, and then drive.
His evidence: Two out of three drivers involved in an accident in Kern County are involved in some form of inattention.
"People just don't understand," Cardoza said. Mix in road construction, highway rehabilitation, bicyclists and pedestrians and the importance of keeping eyes on the road becomes even more critical.
"First Look" host Scott Cox asked about finances; Cardoza said Proposition 30 allowed the CHP to sustain its equipment and personnel.
Bringing up recent tragedies, including the shooting at Taft Union High School in January, Cardoza said the CHP provides other law enforcement agencies with training in dealing with active shooter situations.
Cox asked if fewer people are applying to be CHP officers.
Yes, Cardoza said -- and when some candidates realize what the CHP does besides patrol highways, they're no longer interested.
The CHP also provides security for state structures, judicial protection, the governor's security and works on Homeland security issues, among other duties.
"When people find out what we do, it deters some people," Cardoza said.