The local California Highway Patrol office is joining more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state in high visibility enforcement operations during April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Four dates – April 3, 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, as well. Officers will be ticketing anyone found driving while distracted.
Any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving is distracting, but the recent rise in cell phone use has greatly increased the number of collisions.
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 “It’s Not Worth It!” theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision.
The ticket cost for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is about $162, with subsequent tickets costing about $282.
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.
The following tips can be implemented by any motorist to avoid falling victim to distracted driving behaviors:
- 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.
(Information via press release from the California Highway Patrol.)