Cell phone use and texting violations enforcement
Monday, April 4, 2011 (throughout the month)
Despite legislation prohibiting drivers from texting or using their cell phones without hands free technology, the practice continues throughout the State of California. In an effort to increase public safety and raise awareness, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During California’s first Distracted Driving Awareness Month, law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles will have zero tolerance for cell phone use and texting.
Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that places everyone on the road at risk. It is a leading factor in fatal and serious injury traffic collisions along with speeding and driving under the influence. As a result, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is joining forces with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to increase traffic enforcement and crack down those community members who use their cell phone use or text while driving. Starting Monday, April 4th and throughout the month, the LAPD will join over 225 local agencies plus 103 CHP Area Commands conducting zero tolerance enforcements.
“We take the issue of distracted driving very, very seriously.” said Lieutenant Ron Katona, Officer in Charge, Traffic Coordination Section (TCS). “The ongoing, irresponsible practice of drivers using their cell phones and texting has to stop. The practice is such a serious concern that the LAPD embraces the zero tolerance strategy and fully supports the Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Is a text message or cell phone call really worth risking injury or death?”
Studies have revealed that drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to be involved in serious traffic collision that results in injuries. Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 years have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. The studies have further shown that texting while driving delays a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a drunk driver.
“We recognize that convincing drivers to refrain from using cell phones or texting while driving isn’t easy,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy. “It’s very difficult to resist the urge to check an incoming text or answer a cell phone call. That’s why we are stepping up enforcement and public awareness efforts. Convincing California drivers to wear seat belts 20 years ago wasn’t easy either, but in 2010 more than 96 percent buckled up and thousands of lives were saved.”
A number of simple steps can be taken by drivers to minimize being distracted while driving. These steps include:
Turn off your phone or put it out of reach before starting the car.
Alert callers that you are unable to receive calls when driving by changing your voicemail message.
Make it a point not to call or text anyone who may be driving, such as during the commute to and from work or school, especially parents calling teen drivers.
If you do need to make an important call or respond to a text message, pull over to a safe place to do so.
If going cold turkey is too much of a stretch and you just can’t turn your phone off, consider using one of the available mobile phone applications that holds calls and incoming texts.
“We just want drivers to use some common sense when they’re behind the wheel and focus on driving,” said Murphy. “Think about the vast majority of calls and texts you send or receive every day. Were any really worth a crash, injury or death? It’s just not worth it.”
To schedule an interview regarding Distracted Driving and programs in California, please contact Chris Cochran, California Office of Traffic Safety at 916-509-3063 or via email at email@example.com. If you have questions regarding LAPD’s enforcement activities, please contact Officer Don Inman, TCS, at 213-486-0703 or LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.