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CHP To Crack Down On Distracted Drivers

A ticket for violating either the hands free or no texting law costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets cost $279.

The California Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies across California are preparing to crack down on distracted drivers in April.

As part of a statewide “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” campaign, more than 225 local agencies plus the CHP have announced a “no warnings” policy and will be actively ticketing drivers caught texting or talking with hand-held cell phones throughout April.

A ticket for violating either the hands free or no texting law costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets cost $279, according the California Highway Patrol.

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, according the California Highway Patrol. Nationally, an estimated 3,331 people died in 2011.

“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn't stop some people from continuing to do it,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said.

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to the California Highway Patrol. Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver.

In 2012, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported nearly 450,000 hand-held cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone.

“This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving,” Diaz said. “We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families and others on the road.”

Law enforcement offered some simple tips drivers can take to minimize distractions while driving:

  • Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving
  • Include in your outgoing message that you can't answer while you are driving
  • Don't call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving
  • Adjust controls and set your song playlist before you set out on the road
  • Stay alert and keep your mind on the task of driving – often after a long day at work or a not-so-restful night's sleep, people's minds can wander when behind the wheel. If you find yourself daydreaming, clear your head and focus on the road

-The California Highway Patrol and City News Service contributed to this report 

Ken Mayes April 02, 2013 at 06:19 PM
You are correct there are several exception to California VC Section 23123 (d) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using a wireless telephone while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties. (e) This section does not apply to a person driving a schoolbus or transit vehicle that is subject to Section 23125. (f) This section does not apply to a person while driving a motor vehicle on private property.
Bd April 02, 2013 at 06:38 PM
I'm with you Arthur. I think this is more about additional sources of revenue for the local and State governments than anything else. Otherwise they would have implemented the technology to do that already. Sad story, my 18 year old son got paid $100 to help a guy powerwash his home. He was so excited that he called me to tell me about it as he was pulling away from the house. He had his phone resting on his knee, but a motorcycle cop saw it and wrote him $159 ticket. He was devastated. I completely understand that teens should never talk on the phone while driving, and recognize that he was wrong to do that, but I was bummed to see that the cop didn't let him off with a warning.
Becky Honkington April 02, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I had the misfortune of being issued a citation because of my earbuds. I had both earbuds in which is a big No No. I was unaware of the law, I had just smiled and waved at the cop when I drove by. The fees all together were close to $500.
Becky Honkington April 02, 2013 at 08:09 PM
In regards to Lake Elsinore cops using their cell phones. I pass the lady cop daily on Grand Ave and she is always chatting away. She is animated and laughing so I know it isn't work-related. ;)
cynthia sanchez April 03, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Yes Becky I see the same one all the time. Just chatting & laughing away while driving around. I just pray that she doesn't get distracted & kill some innocent person while talking "work related issues" LOL

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