Effective Monday, June 17, drivers in the greater Sacramento region who are observed texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone will be targeted in a special enforcement operation that will last through June 30. Thirty-seven local police departments and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will participate in the enforcement effort.
This is the third and final high visibility enforcement period that was developed to test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) $600,000 to fund three waves of enforcement along with the message “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” designed to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. A total of 3,008 citations were issued during the first wave last December, increasing to 4,750 during the second wave in February. The special enforcement region stretches from Modesto to Marysville and Vallejo to South Lake Tahoe.
“Distracted driving is a dangerous problem,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “For everyone’s safety, drivers need to focus on the road and refrain from talking or texting on a cell phone. California has strict mobile device laws in place and this “Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other” campaign offers a constant reminder to drivers to do the right thing and practice safe driving.”
Drivers caught talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone will receive a first-time ticket costing a minimum of $162, with a second offense costing $285. However, the goal of the special enforcement operation is not to issue tickets, but to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.
The California Office of Traffic Safety offers these simple tips to keep you or someone you know from being a victim of distracted driving:
While talking on a cell phone, up to 37 percent of the brain functioning needed for driving is used toward that conversation, rather than 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.
Remember: Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other.