Hundreds of Motorists Snagged in Distracted Driving Crackdown

Those who are cited for use of cell phones during weeklong snare are subject to hefty fines; there also is a zero-tolerance policy for teen drivers.

Authorities ticketed 470 drivers for talking or texting on their cell phones while behind the wheel during a nearly weeklong crackdown on distracted driving.

The effort, by San Diego County Sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol, started Feb. 13 and wrapped up Saturday.

The minimum fine for talking without a hands-free device, or texting on a cell phone, is $159 for a first offense. Repeat offenders pay $279.  Adults must use a hands-free device for talking on cell phones, and texting while driving is banned.   

Sheriff's Lt. David Gilmore said three juveniles received citations under a zero-tolerance policy, which prohibits cell phone use of any kind by underage motorists.

Aside from those ticketed, law enforcement officers logged 556 instances of seeing drivers violating laws related to cell phones, though those drivers were not cited because the officers were handling other business, Gilmore said.

"Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk," he said. "Several drivers who were contacted remarked that they had seen the public information campaign prior to their traffic stop and subsequent citation."

The first state law curbing cell phone use while driving took effect July 1, 2008, and authorities launched a broad effort to ensure motorists were aware of it. Six months later, a law banning texting while driving was placed on the books. 

According to the state Office of Traffic Safety, drivers who use devices are four times more likely to get into accidents and injure themselves.


– City News Service

Caroline E. February 23, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Great news, its about time they did this~!!!
Kelly De Laurentis February 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
This should be a relentless endeavor. It is a great way for the San Diego County Sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol to make some money! AND keep our highways and roads safe. Keep it up!
Jennifer Vigil February 23, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Agreed, Caroline and Kelly. It's been a while since the laws passed and I see a lot more people back on their phones in cars.


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