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California announces statewide crackdown on handheld cell use behind the wheel

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In an effort to save lives and eliminate dangerous behind-the-wheel distractions like talking, texting, or browsing on a cell phone, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol and more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state today announced high visibility enforcement operations during April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“Catastrophic crashes can happen in a split second,” said Brian Kelly, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency. “No text or phone call is worth that risk.”

April 8, 17 and 22, have been earmarked for special statewide enforcement for all the allied law enforcement agencies.

Individual agencies will be looking for mobile device offenders in their areas on additional days throughout the month.

The increased enforcement aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior.

The “It’s Not Worth It!” theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision.

“Distracted driving has become a dangerous epidemic nationwide and we want to do everything we can to stop it here and now,” said OTS Acting Director Russia Chavis. “Law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to help remind drivers to put down their cell phones and maintain their focus on the roads. By working together, we can eliminate crashes and the senseless loss of lives of that can result from distracted driving.”

In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted.

Nationally, an estimated 3,328 people died and 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012.

Any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracting, but the recent dramatic rise in cell phone use has greatly increased the number of collisions.

“Any nondriving activity a driver engages in behind the wheel is a potential distraction and increases their risk of being involved in a collision,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Through education and enforcement, law enforcement is working to change this dangerous and potentially life-threatening behavior.”

According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.

Even a three-second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.

In 2013, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 426,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone.

The CHP and statewide law enforcement agencies are committed to ensuring our streets are safe by ticketing anyone found driving while distracted.

The ticket cost for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is about $162, with subsequent tickets costing about $282.

To avoid falling victim to distracted driving behaviors, OTS and the CHP are providing drivers with the following tips that can be implemented by any motorist:

  • Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode, then put it out of reach while driving; 
  • Record an outgoing message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road;
  • Adjust controls and set your song playlist before you set out on the road;
  • If it’s urgent, pull over in a safe place to place a call;
  • Focus on driving, and avoid eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

The California Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and Department of Motor Vehicles remind you to drive safely not only during April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but every day throughout the year.

Get more distracted driving information at www.distraction.gov , www.ots.ca.gov and www.chp.ca.gov , and teen information at www.impactteendrivers.org .

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ravenlu
....
written by ravenlu, April 07, 2014
I can't believe some states still allow you to talk and drive. smilies/shocked.gif And G*d help you if you come to a complete stop at a stop sign in any state. You risk getting rear-ended or, if nothing else, you get the finger!! Too bad for the person behind me because I'm coming to a COMPLETE stop EVERY time! smilies/tongue.gif
BlackMagic
You people don't get it....
written by a guest, April 07, 2014
Police Officers are exempt from this law!
Sometimes there is poor radio reception from
dispatch and an officer needs to use their cell phone.
Other times, the officers are using their Cell Phones
because they are planning to serve a warrant,
or make s bust and they don't want the bad guys,
with scanners, to tip them off on their arrival.
It's really a pretty easy concept to grasp.
boondoggle
sheriffs and police talking a cell phones, not wearing seat belts and having no lights during the rain, etc
written by a guest, April 06, 2014
I guess the law doesn't apply to them. If someone is weaving all over the road they are probably texting best to get away from them so they don't hit you. I observed people texting on the freeway it was scary.
futhark
How To Catch Cell Phone Using Drivers
written by a guest, April 06, 2014
A couple of years ago I was standing at a bus stop in south Santa Rosa, not far from where a 3 year-old child had been killed by a texting driver a few months earlier. There was a 3-way stop at the intersection. To pass the time I watched for drivers who rolled through the stop signs and those who were actively using hand-held cell phones. In 10 minutes of observing, 7 drivers were using cell phones, including 3 who were driving vehicles marked as belonging to businesses. Only 2 out of 12 cars actually came to a complete stop. I figure that a plainclothes officer at the bus stop with radio contact to a patrol car could easily have cited several of these violators.
soja101
funny
written by a guest, April 06, 2014
The funny thing is I see more sheriffs and lakeport pd on the cell phone while driving than any other drivers!
They are on their phones every time you drive pass them.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 April 2014 02:27 )