Police Department Wrapping up Distracted Driving Details

PASADENA, Calif.—April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and, throughout the month, Pasadena Police Department had additional officers on patrol specifically looking for drivers in violation of California's hands-free cell phone law. Three of these special enforcement details have taken place, with over 200 motorists being cited for driving while texting. Over 50 drivers were cited for talking on their cell phones without the use of a hands-free device. Pasadena Police Department's final distracted driver detail for the month will be on Friday, April 26.

“Most people think they can easily multi-task and text while driving,” said Pasadena Police Department Lieutenant Mark Goodman. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. When you look at or reply to a text message, you take your eyes off of the road. Just a couple seconds of distraction can have life-changing consequences.” In 2016, Pasadena Police Department’s Traffic Section handled a collision in which two people were killed by a motorist watching a music video on his cell phone while driving. “Incidents such as these are 100% preventable,” said Lt. Goodman.

“Cell phones remain one of the top distractions for drivers, and this can be deadly,” said Lt. Goodman. 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, phone call, or social media post will never be worth losing a life over,” said Lt. Goodman. "Put down your cell phone and drive safely every day. The life you save could be your own."

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. The 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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