Don’t talk or text and drive.
That’s the message of a campaign involving 36 law enforcement agencies across the greater Sacramento region, including the Davis Police Department, designed to eliminate hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving.
The effort is a special, federally funded pilot program using the region to test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future.
Starting today and continuing through Dec. 9, Davis police will be out in force to issue tickets to drivers using hand-held cell phones or texting. Nationwide, 3,092 people were killed and an estimated 416,000 others were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2010.
“Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving on the streets of Davis is dangerous to everyone on the roadways with them,” Davis Police Chief Landy Black said. “Officers will be out looking, and will be ticketing with zero tolerance.”
Because too many drivers still don’t get the message that using a cell phone while driving can be dangerous and deadly, this initial distracted driving crackdown marks the first 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 hand-held cell phone convictions, up from 361,260 in 2010.
Distracted drivers in Davis 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. However, the goal of the special enforcement operation is not to issue tickets, but to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Some tips to remember:
* 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.
For more information on distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov/sacramentoregion.