Pasadena Police Clamp Down on Distracted Driving, Which Can Be Deadly

Police point to a Pasadena incident in 2016 in which two people were killed by a motorist watching a music video on his cell phone while driving

Published : Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | 12:53 PM

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Pasadena Police Department have joined law enforcement agencies statewide stopping drivers who violate California’s hands-free cell phone law.

Throughout April, the Pasadena Police Department has additional officers on patrol looking specifically for drivers on their phones.

Three of these special enforcement details have taken place throughout the month of April, with over 200 motorists being cited for driving while texting. Over 50 drivers were cited for talking on their cell phones without the use of a hands-free device.

“Most people think they can easily multi-task and text while driving,” said Pasadena Police Department Lieutenant Mark Goodman. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. When you look at or reply to a text message, you take your eyes off of the road. Just a couple seconds of inattention can have life-changing consequences.”

In 2016, the Police Department’s Traffic Section handled a collision in which two people were killed by a motorist watching a music video on his cell phone while driving.

“Incidents such as these are 100% preventable,” said Goodman.

“Cell phones remain one of the top distractions for drivers, and this can be deadly,” said Lieutenant Goodman.

A 2018 observational survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) on driver cell phone use found about 4.5 percent of drivers are still using their cell phone illegally, a nearly 27 percent increase from 2016.

“That text, phone call, or social media item will never be worth losing a life over,” said Lieutenant Goodman. “Our final distracted driver enforcement day for the month of April will be Friday, April 26th, so please put down your cell phone and drive safely every day. The life you save could be your own!”

Under the most recent cell phone law that went into effect in 2017, drivers are prohibited from having a phone in their hand for any reason and can only use their phone in a hands-free manner. The phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function.

First-time offenders face a $162 fine.







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