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More Than 100 Violators Cited for “Distracted Driving” Monday

Published on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | 6:37 am
 

Pasadena Police handed citations to at least 100 individuals who were caught operating their cellphones or being distracted while driving last Monday.

The department deployed 15 officers on motorcycles throughout the district, especially along main thoroughfares such as Lake Avenue and around school areas, Lt. Pete Hettema told the Pasadena Star-News.

Hettema added that the variety of violations cited include texting, talking on phone, putting a make-up and driving with a dog on the driver’s lap.

The cost for violating cell phone laws start at $162 for the first offense and $285 for subsequent offenses. Other violations for actions that can be classified as distracted driving can range even higher.

“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,” said Pasadena Police Department’s Chief, Phillip L. Sanchez. “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We hope people realize the danger involved and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”

The campaign coincides with the opening of Pasadena Unified last week as well as the start of the new school year.

“With all of the kids and pedestrians out around the schools, it’s a really important time for us to remind everybody the extra few seconds it takes you to pull over to make that call or to send that text are worth it to save a life,” Hettema told the Star-News.

Pasadena Police holds five to six one-day crackdown of these violators annually with the funds provided by the state Office of Traffic Safety.

According to data provided by the Pasadena Police, the officers have issued 1,800 tickets for talking while driving and 473 for texting last year. In 2011, about 3,000 people in the United States were killed due to having distractions while driving.

“The Pasadena Police Department’s enforcement efforts are intended to keep people alive and make our roadways safer,” Pasadena Police Chief Philip L. Sanchez said in a statement.

The state’s ban of talking while driving in 2008 has decreased the death rate of drivers who were killed due to the use of phone while behind the wheel, according to a study conducted by the Safe Transportation Research & Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are very encouraged to see the usage figures decline, especially after the increase last year”, said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “But any number is too high, since any usage of cell phones while driving takes away too much of our brain’s ability to react to what is happening on the road, not to mention when our hands or eyes are disengaged also.”

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