The Turlock Police Department will be joining more than 200 local law enforcement agencies to crack down on drivers’ cellphone use as part April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign.
During the month, officers will be on high alert for drivers breaking California cell phone laws, in order to ensure the safety of other drivers.
California Highway Patrol is heading the “zero tolerance” enforcement during the month of April, with high visibility enforcement operations taking place on April 3, 8, 17, and 22.
Along with enforcement, the campaign will raise awareness to the dangers of using a handheld device while driving through the “It’s Not Worth It!” theme of the campaign.
The minimum ticket cost is currently $161, with subsequent tickets going to a minimum of $281.
“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously,” said Modesto Police Department Chief Carroll, “because we see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone’s life?”
Drivers using handheld devices are four times as likely to get into injury accidents. Texting while driving can slow a driver’s reaction time to the same degree as a legally drunk driver, said authorities.
It is not just texting while driving that is dangerous, however. A cell phone conversation, whether hands-free or handheld, can cause “inattention blindness” when a driver’s attention moves from the road to the conversation.