Martinez Police to Hold Zero Tolerance Distracted Driving Enforcement Operation

March 28, 2012 14:00 pm · 47 comments

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.

1 Screwy Louie March 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM

What’d he say?…I was distracted

2 Sinn Feiner March 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I had a drunk driver arrested this morning on my way home from work around 3:00am. The driver at first was all over his lane right by Treat Blvd then all over 2 lanes on 242. By the time we got onto Highway 4 east he was all over 3 lanes. I was on the phone with the CHP the whole time and they had a car pull up behind him just past Willow Pass and pulled him over at the first exit in Bay Point. I didn’t stick around to see the outcome but I think it’s safe to say he was arrested. Then again he could have been drowsy or had a medical condition I don’t know. It’s amazing how many drunk drivers I see every month in the early morning hours when I’m heading home from work.

3 Ian March 28, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Why are they holding an event for this? If they are on a cell phone, ticket them!

How can we get law enforcement to enforce laws as a part of normal daily business?

4 Nick March 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Couldn’t they have said that in fewer words? I’m on the freeway right now and that was alot to read on my phone.

5 miggity March 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM

So in CA. is it legal to hold your phone to your face and use the speaker phone option? I see that a lot and I think people out there think it’s legal…is it?

6 Posting while driving March 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Here’s my favorite part:

“Studies show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations.”

In other words, the hands-free law is worthless. Now, they’ll try to ban cell phone use while driving entirely. Then, when that doesn’t have a measurable effect on traffic safety, they’ll try to ban something else. And all you good little sheep will go right along with it because you’d gladly give up your freedom if it saves just one life.

7 Barbara March 28, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Great! Start at Milano/Glacier. Especially pay attention to the ones turning south on Glacier heading to the front of the Sheriff’s Dept … and driving through stop signs.

8 Don-PH March 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM

ROFL Nick #4

I agree with Ian #3 – why is it not being enforced currently?

9 Man in the Middle March 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM

What if I’m an “undocumented worker” and I can’t understand your crazy gringo laws? You’ll will let me off again, right?

10 anonamiss March 28, 2012 at 2:39 PM

This should be something the police need to be on top off all the time. So many young drivers staring down in their laps as they drive through town.Me and my child are just trying to make it home safely without having to dodge the imbeciles who are texting and checking their e-mails. Can’t your conversation about how tacky J’s outfit was last night when she tried to flirt with B wait???? (Hypothetical conversation)

11 The police... March 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM

…Are the biggest offenders. While I do see citizens on their phones while driving, I see police officers doing it far more often. Why do they get to talk on their cell phones? They have a radio and a computer at their disposal already. They should start at this campaign at the gates of every police department.

12 Erik March 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

I’ve made many calls that are worth more than $159, but never worth more than a life.

Is it illegal that I use my phone consistently for GPS while driving?
Is it illegal to choose a song on my iPod while driving?
Is it illegal when I use voice commands to use my phone instead of typing and being distracted?
Is it illegal to hold my phone in my hand?

Law enforcement is a joke on this topic.

13 anonymous March 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Im throwing the BS flag on this. They always say”Studies say” What studies? I can find a study that says anything.

14 I'm Your Huckleberry... March 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM

I’m in agreement with a couple of other previous posts… so there needs to be a designated day to enforce this law by the police forces? Honestly, it shouldn’t be too difficult to enforce considering just about every other driver I see on my way to and from work has a phone glued to their. They even have the balls to do it as they drive on by the Concord Police Department!

15 @ #11 March 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

The police get to do it because the law specifically says they can. If you don’t like the laws, elect better lawmakers.

I’m sure that by saying they have a computer, you’re not implying that they should communicate by email while driving, right? That would just be silly.

And yes, they have radios. But I can’t call them on the radio and neither can you. Sometimes the cell phone is the best way to get a hold of them, so that’s why they give that number to people.

Also, any retard with a scanner can listen to police radio traffic. The phone is much better for sensitive information.

16 G March 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Sinn Feiner THANK YOU ! You did good.

How many feet will you travel
at 60 mph in 2 seconds? 176 feet
at 40 mph in 2 seconds? 118 feet
at 30 mph in 2 seconds? 88 feet
How long does it take to find and press a letter on a phone while typing a text message?

17 Brother C March 28, 2012 at 3:54 PM

@#2 Would you get a ticket for using a cell phone while driving, turning in a drunk driver?

18 Max March 28, 2012 at 3:58 PM

I’ll believe it when I see it. They’ve done nothing so far that makes me think they take this law seriously.

19 anon March 28, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Police use their cell phones, talk on the radio, and send messages on their computers while driving.

20 Connie Dobbs March 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM


“The Los Angeles Police Department will soon start ignoring California state law, which requires police to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers for 30 days.
The majority of unlicensed motorists in Los Angeles are immigrants who are in the country illegally and have low-income jobs. The LAPD says the state’s impound law is unfair because it limits their ability to get to their jobs and imposes a steep fine to get their car back.”

21 called up March 28, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Erik- Good questions. I would like answers as well as clarification on how it is determined. Because I fall in the group that uses a phone mostly for everything but talking, there are many times I need to handle my phone in the car that don’t include talking or texting.

22 SpursFan March 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM

@posting while driving: There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can’t wait til you get home, to work, etc.

@The Police…My thoughts exactly. Apparently they are exempt (for no good reason) from the laws. That explains why they can’t enforce the laws themselves…They’re ON THE FREAKIN’ PHONE!!!

@#11: Like hell they give out their cell to citizens. Tell the parents of the two teens killed by a state trooper while talking on the phone, “its ok, they are allowed to do that.” BTW, I’m working on changes, but I doubt it will happen. They all look out for their own.

23 Old Timer March 28, 2012 at 4:28 PM

What am I missing here?It’s aginst the law everyday,how stupid to make that statement.

24 Cowellian March 28, 2012 at 4:31 PM

So? What’s your point?

25 Man in the Middle March 28, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Connie #20,
Yes, I saw that story too. Kinda makes one proud to be American huh.

26 Randome Task March 28, 2012 at 4:49 PM

COMMON SENSE PEOPLE IF YOU THINK IT IS OK TO DRIVE WITH ONE KNEE AND TEXT TO WHOM EVER WHILE BEHIND THE WHEEL THEN YOU HAVE NO COMMON SENSE…..instead of crying about how bull the laws are and how the police this and the police that focus on the fact that it only takes 1 second to lose control and ruin your world and someone elses…no matter how good you think you are the thousands of other drivers out there may not be so good and not so in control as you so are and as you go 5 miles under the speed limit because you are texting and or running the light as if it were not there …ive seen both things happen and the later almost killed me in a t bone yet i was aware and not on a phone and saw this car speeding towards the intersection …i stopped in the middle of the intersection as the person flew by at over 50 miles and hour with their phone in hand …and yes i had a green light and still did after she blew through the intersection and didnt even see me as she blew past my front end …oh and i was honking and she didnt even look …..anyone else texting while driveing when the light turned green would have been killed on impact as if i didnt stop she would have t boned my vehicle at over 50 miles per hour… is a 2000 pound wrecking machine it should be treated that way period

27 GINA March 28, 2012 at 4:50 PM


28 Randome Task March 28, 2012 at 4:51 PM

would you text while operateing a chain saw up in a tree …yea keep your banter to yourself…no you would not …common sense says so …and yet common sense is not common ….apparently

29 BlueJay March 28, 2012 at 6:02 PM

#6 is an Idiot. Nuff said.

30 Dear Radome Task March 28, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Currently I am in a Walnut tree , trimming it with an echo chain saw. I am texting with the other hand and feel quite sa…

31 anon March 28, 2012 at 7:23 PM

BlueJay #29,
Well that’s it then. Thanks for settling the matter.

32 Sinn Feiner March 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

I was actually on my cell talking to the CHP officer who was in the next lane over. If I got a ticket for turning in a drunk driver on my cell who almost ran into a car I would be pissed!

33 March 28, 2012 at 8:32 PM

You can’t get a ticket for talking on your cell phone if it’s an emergency. Good job, Sinn Feiner.

34 Adam Henry March 28, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Ha ha ha, Look at all the offenders getting their panties in a twist! :) :)
I love it! I’ll be honking a nice “Wake the F up” at you when I see you drifting into my lane while playing with yourself while driving or would that be playing with your cute little electronic gadget.
The roads are for one thing: TRAVEL. If you aren’t there to do that – STAY HOME.

35 CJ March 28, 2012 at 9:48 PM

Hey Adam, I heard they’re going to set up a checkpoint for enforcement.

36 Nick March 28, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Hey CJ, that checkpoint would be unlawful and a violation of our constitu… Aww screw it, I can’t keep a straight face.

37 OliveOyl March 29, 2012 at 2:20 AM

Why can’t we just have no tolerance everywhere every day?? When is it ‘noover tolerance’ day for murder, etc? I want to make sure I commit my crime on a different day . . .

38 OliveOyl March 29, 2012 at 2:21 AM

Dumb phone

39 Sinn Feiner March 29, 2012 at 4:53 AM

@Randome Task,

That reminds me of this lady I saw not too long ago on 680 south in Alamo on my way to work. She was reading a book while driving! She had her head down reading this book for so long that I don’t know how in hell she stayed in her lane or didn’t get in a major accident.

I honked my horn at her a few times giving her that look to pay attention to the road but she went right back to reading! Must have been a really interesting book.

40 Anon March 29, 2012 at 6:45 AM

They should ban smoking next. Just as distracting for the driver. Then we can have check points for that. Can’t deny you were smoking since it stinks.

41 Barbara March 29, 2012 at 7:13 AM

What’s so unreal is the inability for people to grasp this as the danger involved with texting and driving: an Amtrak conductor collided and killed 25 people near Los Angeles several years ago because he was texting. The man was on train tracks — not “steering” with a wheel …

To the pigeons who can’t grasp the FYI, when your turns come, we’ve told you so.

42 Malibu Barbie March 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

What’s so unreal is the inability for people to grasp the fact that hands-free cell phone laws are completely useless.

Show me anywhere that has had a significant, documented reduction in traffic accidents since such laws were passed.

43 anon March 29, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Maybe they can ticket the idiots that hold onto their rat dog with one hand when driving at the same time too, that is distracted driving the same as holding a phone is!!!!

44 Amused March 29, 2012 at 10:27 AM

I love that a cell phone/driving discussion becomes racist. You folks posting about illegal immigrants here really need to get a grip.

45 Diospyros March 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Try being a nondriver who walks everywhere.

It has gotten BAD out there. I’ve stayed alive so far by never stepping in front of a car without first meeting the driver’s eyes. This includes crosswalks with a green light — distracted drivers will inch forward into the crosswalk; really distracted drivers will be idling then suddenly lurch into the crosswalk.

But lately I’ve had incidents where a cell-phone-talking driver looks right at me and doesn’t see me. One time the person waved me across at a stop sign, resumed her conversation, and drove right at me. Multitasking FAIL.

Don’t cry to me about your rights. You are wielding a deadly weapon, you have got to pay attention. The chainsaw analogy is good except that anyone dumb enough to do that is only endangering himself (and everybody’s wallet when he claims worker’s comp for a sawn-off leg)

A better analogy would be a firing range. You don’t yak on the phone when you’re aiming a weapon. Well, I hope the people who hang out at firing ranges are sensible enough not to tolerate that.

Maybe Jeff or somebody could tell us if there are rules about cell phones at firing ranges, or a well-enforced community etiquette.

46 David March 30, 2012 at 4:23 AM

“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.”
so what difference is there between hands free and not hands free? looks to me like martinez is just looking for some free cash for their either make using phones, hands free or other wise, illegal. or make using the phone legal. because the way it is now is total BS!!!! obviously its not about safety. its about money.

47 Erik March 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I still don’t understand the saying “cops can do it because the law says so”….

Cops can speed down streets to get places faster and they don’t get in trouble …but does it mean that they are safer just because they’re a cop? No! Does having a cop ‘title’ automatically mean you magically get quicker reaction times? No! Because you’re a cop, you can do 80mph down Concord B, and when Johnny’s ball rolls in the street, they wont hit him, right? What differs a cop from a normal person? Are they superhero? No…they do all the stupid stuff we do, but get away with it.

I’ve never been arrested or even handcuffed, and only have 1 speeding ticket from many years ago, but I still have a nice passion of hate for them…they’re dirty, and abuseful of the laws….once again, it’s a joke.

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