Lancaster Station cracking down on distracted drivers

Last September, a driver talking on her cell phone, while traveling at a high rate of speed, clipped the car in front of her, jumped the curb and then crashed into a tree. The collision, which happened on Avenue J and 15th Street West, injured the driver’s toddler.

Last September, a driver talking on her cell phone, while traveling at a high rate of speed, clipped the car in front of her, jumped the curb and then crashed into a tree. The collision, which happened on Avenue J and 15th Street West, injured the driver’s toddler.

LANCASTER – As part of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, deputies from Lancaster Sheriff’s Station will be actively ticketing those texting or operating hand-held cell phones on April 3 and April 16.

Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited with no warnings.

The current minimum ticket cost is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.  Last April, over 57,000 tickets were written statewide for texting and hand-held cell use. There were nearly 450,000 convictions in 2012.  Whether it’s a ticket or a crash, as the campaign theme states, “It’s Not Worth It!”

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 3,331 died in 2011.  As a result, law enforcement across the state, including Lancaster Station, are increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting.

This April will see over 225 local agencies plus the California Highway Patrol conducting zero tolerance enforcements.

Last summer, a distracted driver crashed into a fire hydrant on Sierra Highway. The car overturned but the man escaped serious injury.

Last summer, a distracted driver crashed into a fire hydrant on Sierra Highway. The car overturned but the man escaped serious injury.

“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,” said Lancaster Station Captain Pat Nelson. “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving.  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.”

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.  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.

Studies also show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road.  When over one third of your brain’s functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone “zombie.”

  • To avoid a distracted driving ticket or crash, the Lancaster Station Traffic Detail offers drivers the following tips:
  • 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

(Information via press release from Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.)

  13 comments for “Lancaster Station cracking down on distracted drivers

  1. KOUI
    April 8, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Even though police officers and other emergency services personnel are exempt from the distracted driving laws, aren’t they still distracted from driving while talking on cell phones, like anyone else? Maybe even more so considering the amount of stress they might be experiencing during a pursuit or a 911 response. I wonder if there are any statistics concerning these groups and their rates of distracted driving accidents as compared to other demographic groups. Would their rates be higher or lower? If its really about saving lives, couldn’t we all do a lot better?

  2. Lola
    April 4, 2013 at 9:30 am

    How about they do this every shift, every day? Why just two days a month? There are more people driving and texting/talking on their cells than ever before.

    • KOUI
      April 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Well said!

  3. ????
    April 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    So can we ticket cops that are talking/texting on their cell phones. I feel it is only right. I am always seeing cops talking and texting.

    • Martha
      April 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      …and turnin their sirens on just to pass red lights, speeding like crazy, and hanging out at 7-11 to name a few LOL

      • Angel
        April 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        There should be a hotline where we can report these cops who should be setting a good example but dont

        • dumbandblind
          April 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm

          Hi Angel, You should be able to find what you are looking for here:!ut/p/b0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOItDCDAyN3M083A09_d0y3A2NzIIMhEvyDbUREAB3KcTQ!!/?1dmy&page=dept.lasd.home.welcome.detail.hidden&urile=wcm%3Apath%3A/lasd+content/lasd+site/home/home+welcome/home+welcome+details/lasd+transparency+and+oversight

          • dumbandblind
            April 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm

            Copy and paste the entire link to your browser.

            April 3, 2013 at 12:19 am

            This link sends you to an error page.

          • dumbandblind
            April 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

            Hi irritated, Did you copy the link from “http” all the way to “oversight” ? For some reason it was cut off halfway. I tried copying the entire link and pasting it in my browser and it works. If you are still having trouble just Google: “la county sheriff internal affairs” and click on the link that reads: “transparency, Openness, Public Trust, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s …. the LASD Internal Affairs Bureau at 1-(800) 698-8255 (answered by Sheriff’s …

    • my2cents
      April 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Check the California vehicle Code folks! 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….”

      Should some deputies set a better example? Of course. Are they talking to their wives or girlfriends some of that time? Of course. But I’ve been on ride-a-longs. A majority of the time they are talking to other cops about the last call, the one they are going to, or calling a supervisor when ordered to over their computer. Sometimes they call the informant of the call they are going to, and handle the call via phone. Really people? Are you really that pissed that they “get to” drive through red lights on occasion, talk on their phones, or get coffee at 7-11? I’ve seen plenty of them eating a sandwich from their lunch box while driving to your house to help you control your kids since you have no parenting skills,stop your hubby from beating you,stop the boogie man from getting you,etc, etc. Get a life people. Either sign up for their jobs that have so many “perks”, or quitcherbitchin!

        April 3, 2013 at 12:25 am

        Well Im sorry this is a bunch of bullcrap. Because whatever you try to preach is not going to make me believe the [removed]. I have seen with my own eyes enough Lancaster cops talking/texting on personal phones.
        You can’t not convince me that the cop driving while using both hands to text was work related.
        And I guarantee none of these cops are eating from a lunch box, the pull in to a fast food place to get a free meal. I
        They ain’t helping me control anything in my home. I have it all control

      • Mark
        April 3, 2013 at 4:45 am

        @My2, I agree with you on this one, have been on many ride-a-longs and seen some of the verbal abusive the officers take from angry drivers. most folks on this forum just like to bitch. hope they never need one of these texting, red light runnin coffee drinkin coppers.

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