Presidio of Monterey Police Department Joins Crackdown on Texting and Handheld Cell Use Behind the Wheel
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- A driver simulates texting while driving.

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- As part of April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, The Presidio of Monterey Police are joining over 200 other local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol in a month-long "zero tolerance" enforcement and education campaign to curb those texting or operating hand-held cell phones while driving.

Officers will be on alert throughout the month for those who break the cell-phone laws and place themselves and others in danger. In addition to two events earlier this month, special high-visibility enforcement operations to cite cell-phone violators will take place April 17 and 22.

The increased enforcement and education aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior. The "It's Not Worth It!" theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn't worth a hefty fine or a collision. The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously because we see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes," said Presidio of Monterey Police Chief Michael Stuebinger. "Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone's life?"

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver's reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver.

Research shows that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in "inattention blindness," which occurs when the brain isn't seeing what is clearly visible because the driver's focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road.

Page last updated Thu April 10th, 2014 at 00:00