THEY'RE GONNA GET YA!
The Costa Mesa Police Department issued a press release today announcing that, as part of the Distracted Driving Awareness Month
, the CMPD will be actively ticketing those texting or operating hand-held cell phones during the month of April. Drivers will be cited without warning and will receive tickets costing $159 for the first offense and at least $279 for each subsequent ticket.
MANY AGENCIES INVOLVED
This focused enforcement is in response to what has been described as a "serious traffic safety concern
". The press release tells us that "In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted
." Due to the seriousness of the problem, more than 225 local agencies plus the CHP will be conducting zero tolerance enforcement during April.
INFORMATION FROM THE CHIEF
CMPD Chief Tom Gazsi
is quoted as saying, "We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn't stop some people from continuing to do it. This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families and others on the road.
YOUNGER DRIVERS ARE THE WORST
According to the press release, younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. It goes on to say 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.
ANY CELL USE IS DANGEROUS WHILE DRIVING
The release also quotes studies that show 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 of the drivers' focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. The phrase "cell phone zombie
" is used to describe that situation.
The CMPD suggests the following tips:
SEPARATELY... ANOTHER DUI CHECKPOINT FRIDAY NIGHT
- Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving
- Include in your outgoing message that you can't answer while you are driving
- Don't call or text anyone at the time when you think they may be driving
In a separate release the CMPD tells us that another DUI checkpoint will be conducted somewhere in the city beginning Friday night at 8:00 p.m. and extending into Saturday morning at 3:00 a.m. Historically, these events have proven to be excellent educational tools - unless you're Mayor Jim Righeimer, who just doesn't like the inconvenience when he's in a hurry. That's another story.
DON'T SAY WE DIDN'T WARN YOU!
So, be careful out there. No drinking and driving. No texting while driving. You've been warned.
Labels: CMPD, DUI Checkpoints, Texting