Santa Monica News
No Cell Phone Usage While Driving
By Katherine Noland
Nov 1, 2012 - 4:21:16 PM

SANTA MONICADuring the month of November, the Santa Monica Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Section will crack down on texting and talking on mobile phone devices while driving due to the heavy impact it has on traffic collisions.

Every month, the Santa Monica’s Traffic Enforcement examines different driving behaviors that are primary causes of traffic incidents. This month, texting and driving is the central focus as officials will take specific attention toward those driving who appear to be using their phones while behind the wheel.

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As stated by Sergeant Richard Lewis from a press release from the Santa Monica Police Department website, driving behaviors that officials want to take notice of are those of distracted driving including categorizing DUI’s. Traffic collisions as a result of cellphone usage while driving is rising in numbers, and it is the second time this year the Santa Monica Traffic Enforcement is paying specific attention to such driving patterns.  The department has also received a growing number of complaints from citizens regarding texting and driving, according to Sergeant Lewis.

According to the DMV of California, the 23123(a) of the California Vehicle Code states that one cannot use a wireless telephone unless designed to allow hands-free listening and talking and used in that manner. There is a $20 fine for the first offense of this code and a $50 fine for subsequent offenses. No points will be added to your license if pulled over; however, the conviction will appear on your driving record. There are some minor exceptions to this code such as for emergency purposes, and a call must be made to a law enforcement agency, healthcare provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency or entity (www.dmv.ca.gov). This law became active July 1, 2011, and “California fatalities linked to handheld cell phone use fell by almost half following the enactment” as stated from the website www.handsfreeinfo.com. 

Despite the fact that under California law, drivers over the age of 18 may use hands-free devices such as a blue tooth, but those under the age of 18 may not.  Drivers of all age groups have been pushing the boundaries of cellphone usage while driving, according to Sergeant Lewis. All violators of the 23123(a) of the California Vehicle Code are under higher risk of penalty this month.



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