EL CENTRO – During the month of April, motorists caught violating California’s distracted-driving law received a clear message from law enforcement during a high-visibility enforcement campaign, according to a press release from the El Centro Police Department.
“Using a hand-held phone for calls, texting or apps while driving is something we all know is dangerous and wrong, but too many drivers are doing it anyway. So when we see it, we show zero tolerance,” said El Centro Police Commander Robert Sawyer in a press release.
According to the press release, the El Centro Police Department issued 203 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 not an issue —it is never acceptable to text and drive,” said Sawyer in the press release. According to the latest data from the U.S. 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 will face tickets totaling at least $162, and higher for a second violations, the press release stated. Although the high-visibility enforcement effort has completed, 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, the department’s release said.