Sacramento PD: Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other
The Sacramento Police Department is teaming up with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the California Highway Patrol, and 36 other law enforcement agencies across the greater Sacramento region to target cell phone users who insist on using their phone while driving.
The focus of this effort is through a special federally funded pilot program and will use the area to test tactics that may be employed nationally.
The program kicked off Monday and will run through June 30. During this time the Sacramento Police Department will be out in force to issue tickets to drivers using hand-held cell phones or texting.
The department is working closely with the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and West Sacramento and will have “saturation patrols” in each of those cities.
According to a press release, in 2010 close to 3,100 people were killed, and an estimated 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
Many drivers have neglected warnings and still insist on using their phones while driving. This latest crackdown marks the third of many enforcement waves taking place over the next year.
California’s distracted driving law bans all drivers from using hand-held devices and texting while operating a motor vehicle. Yet, in 2011, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported 460,487 handheld cell phone convictions, up from 361,260 in 2010.
Distracted drivers in Sacramento talking on a hand-held cell phone or texting will receive a first-time ticket costing a minimum of $159, with a second offense costing $279. According to officials the goal is not to issue tickets, but to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Sacramento Police have a few suggestions:
• Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach.
• 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”.
For more information on distracted driving, please visit http://www.distraction.gov/sacramentoregion.
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