As part of the April 2012 Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, the Martinez Police will be offering “zero tolerance” to those texting or operating cell phones without a hands-free device on April 3rd and April 18th. Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited. The current minimum ticket cost is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.
The following information is from the Martinez Police Department:
Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk. As a result, law enforcement across the state, including Martinez PD are increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting. This April, over 225 local agencies plus the CHP will conduct zero tolerance enforcement days.
“Distracted driving is a very serious issue.” said Martinez PD Chief Gary Peterson. “Cell phone use and texting, while driving, is such a serious concern that the Department will have zero tolerance policy during the month. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159 or the increased chance of a collision?”, Peterson said.
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In addition, studies 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.
Studies show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. When over one third of your brain’s functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone “zombie.”
“Turn off your phone and put it out of reach as you get into the car,” said Christopher J. 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.”