The message is clear: It is illegal to hold and use a cell phone while texting, calling or using apps while driving
During the month of April, motorists caught violating California’s distracted-driving law received a clear message from Monterey Park law enforcement during a high-visibility enforcement campaign.
“Using a hand-held phone for calls, texting or the apps while driving is something we all know is dangerous, but too many drivers are doing it anyway. So when we see it, we will stop you for it,” said Monterey Park Police Chief Jim Smith.
Monterey Park PD issued 193 citations to violators of California’s distracted-driving law during the recent enforcement period. The law provides that it is illegal to hold and use a cell phone while texting, calling or using the apps while driving. It must be affixed to the vehicle, may be operated in hands free mode using voice activation, or used with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
“Distracted driving kills too many people for us to ignore the facts and pretend it’s okay—it is not acceptable to text and drive,” said Chief Smith. According to the latest data from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed nationwide, and another 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.
Offenders caught texting and driving face fines of $162 and higher for a second violations. Though the high-visibility enforcement effort is over, law enforcement officers will continue watching for distracted drivers to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road, and their hands on the wheel.
This campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sergeant David Elliott, Monterey Park Police Department