Police Department Challenges Drivers to ‘Silence’ the Distraction

PASADENA, Calif.—April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Pasadena Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies statewide to stop drivers who violate California’s hands-free cell phone law.

Throughout the month of April, Pasadena Police Department will have additional officers on patrol looking specifically for drivers on their cell phones.

Last year, Pasadena Police Department issued 2,612 citations to drivers texting, calling or performing other functions on their cell phone. Distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves a cell phone. According to preliminary data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 injured in 2017 from distracted driving-related crashes.

“Cell phones remain one of the top distractions for drivers,” said Pasadena Police Department Lieutenant Mark Goodman. “On April 1, we conducted a distracted driver detail, and 89 people were cited for texting while driving. Distracted driving can be deadly, so please put those cell phones down every time you drive,” said Lt. Goodman.

Pasadena Police Department's next distracted driver detail will take place on Friday, April 12.

A 2018 observational survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) on driver cell phone use found about 4.5% of drivers are still using their cell phone illegally, a nearly 27% increase from 2016.

“That text or phone call will never be worth losing a life,” said Lt. Goodman. “In 2016, we investigated a collision in which two people were killed as result of distracted driving. Two families suffered great tragedies that evening, the effects of which will be felt forever.”

Under the most recent cell phone law that went into effect in 2017, drivers are prohibited from having a phone in their hand for any reason and can only use their phone in a hands-free manner. Cell phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function. First-time offenders face a $162 fine.

If you need to make a call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location. Struggling to stay off the phone while driving? Put your phone in a place you can’t reach, like the backseat or trunk.

Funding for this and other traffic enforcement programs is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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