Police crack down on distracted drivers

DOWNEY - Distracted motorists who insist on using hand-held cell phones this month can expect a citation if caught by Downey Police.The Downey Police Department is participating in Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April and have pledged to ticket any driving texting or talking on their cell phone while driving. A citation costs at least $159 and subsequent tickets carry penalties of $279 or more. "We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said Police Chief Rick Esteves. "Cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that we are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance." According to police statistics, drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Younger, inexperienced drivers under age 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Studies also 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, police said. "Turn off your phone and put it out of reach as you get into the car," suggested Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "Think before you call or text someone. If there is a chance they may be driving, let it wait. It's not worth it."

********** Published: April 5, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 51