Concord Police Department Joins Crackdown on Texting and Handheld Cell Use Behind the Wheel

March 28, 2014 10:00 am · 51 comments

texting

As part of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, Concord Police Department will be joining with over 200 other local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol in a month long “zero tolerance” enforcement and education campaign to curb those texting or operating hand-held cell phones while driving. Officers will be on alert throughout the month for those who break the cell phone laws and place themselves and others in danger. Special high visibility enforcement operations to cite cell phone violators will take place on:

April 3, 2014 April 4, 2014 April 5, 2014 April 6, 2014
April 8, 2014 April 11, 2014 April 12, 2014 April 13, 2014
April 17, 2014 April 18, 2014 April 19, 2014 April 20, 2014
April 22, 2014 April 25, 2014 April 26, 2014 April 27, 2014

The increased enforcement and education aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior. The “It’s Not Worth It!” theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn’t worth a hefty fine or a collision. The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.

“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously,” said Concord Police Sergeant Cody Harrison. “because we see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone’s life?”

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. 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. According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Even a three second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.

Research shows 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.”

{ 51 comments }

1 JW March 28, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I read yesterday about this website. The guy is actually taking the pictures of distracted drivers and putting them on billboards. Pretty funny.

http://www.twitspotting.com/

2 just a concordian March 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM

So, don’t text and drive on the month of April because the officers will actually DO their job. HA! I love it when they are “on alert” which means during the rest of the year they’re slacking off. Oh boy how do I get a job like that! One month of actual work and the rest of the year it’s a free for all.

3 Simprefy March 28, 2014 at 10:11 AM

This is what I’m talking about. Way to go CPD!

4 Nuttsie the Nutter March 28, 2014 at 10:12 AM

I’ll believe it when I see it. Cell phone use, both texting and talking has become epidemic. As a motorcycle rider I get a clear view into peoples cars and the number of people on their phones is unbelievable.

Not just young kids, but mom’s with kids in the car, older folks, “privileged” drivers in BMWs and Mercedes. The other day I saw a girl working on her tablet as she was going down the road.

If you honk or say something they get mad as hell. Of course everyone I see is the exception to the rule. THEY can do it and be safe. It is the other people doing it that are dangerous.

I hope this enforcement period gets some results, but I have my doubts.

Out on the road coming up behind cars, I can tell with 99% accuracy who is on their phone by the way they are driving. They are either going real slow or weaving in and out of their lane. If I can see this why can’t the cops see it?

This is one of my passionate pet peeves. I have lost two fellow rider friends who were killed by people that were texting while driving.

5 Noj March 28, 2014 at 10:15 AM

‘Bout time.

6 Rose Garden March 28, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Why anyone would even want to talk on a cell or text while driving is beyond me.

I don’t like talking on a cell or texting when I’m NOT driving!

Distracted driving has always been an issue. The method of distraction just changes depending on the generation.

I hope this is effective.

7 Googlar March 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

It is ok if the cops do it. I saw them do it once, called in on it, dispatch said it was ok for cops to do it.

8 The Mamba March 28, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I was driving on 680 the other day with my wife and baby behind a car swerving back and forth. My wife asked, “What is wrong with that person?” Yup, you guessed it, teenager looking down and texting. And you see it over and over and over again.

9 typical concord resident March 28, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Sweet, now if they would just put a bullet in the head of any violator instead of a lousy ticket…

10 ChampagneKitty March 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

to just a concordian #2–Okay, so the Concord P.D, should NOT participate in the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign? Is that what you’re saying?

Also, your statement is ridiculous. ” I love it when they are “on alert” which means during the rest of the year they’re slacking off. Oh boy how do I get a job like that! One month of actual work and the rest of the year it’s a free for all.” What kind of dream world do you live in? Of course the police are on alert all the time. But you can’t expect them to focus on everything all of the time. This campaign is a good thing. I don’t know why you’re choosing to scoff at it, unless you’re one of the people the campaign is targeting.

11 brown menace March 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Just Hang out outside De La Salle and Northgate after School!

12 mutts March 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM

I think most texting is something that can wait. If not, pull over off the road. People are so needy to be so attached to their phones. Pathetic.

13 I wish I could do something March 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM

life paint ball mark every car I see whose driver is on the phone. That would be a lot of paint.

So many people are so narcissistic, its sadly disgusting.

14 DumbandDumber March 28, 2014 at 11:39 AM

@Nuttsie the Nutter: I do the samething. On a bike I can see everything people are doing. I don’t drive a bike, but as a passenger I am always on the lookout for the jerks who are on their phones, tex paging, reading or doing any sort of distracted driving. I guess they don’t understand that what they are doing can cost someone their life. It’s disgusting. In a car, I can see the dopes look down at something and I know they are text paging.

Personally, I think the fine is way too low. The fine should be increased to $500 for the 1st time offense and $1000 for every offense thereafter. The only thing people understand here is MONEY. If it impacts their pocketbook, they may just finally “get it.”

15 While... March 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM

The Officer is ticketing one person, a dozen or
more will go by . But they shouldn’t stop.
People just don’t have any common sense.

16 Anon March 28, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Way easy ticket.
It this on Overtome?? If so/ way sweet deal.
We all see dozens of violations daily.

17 ClayDen March 28, 2014 at 11:49 AM

I hope it works. There are so many people doing it, there is going to be a LOT of revenue generated from this, along with improved safety. They ought to raise the minimum fine too.

Now, if we could get people to use their turn signals……………

18 just a concordian March 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM

@ChampagneKitty

These campaigns don’t do anything to enforce the law abiding public’s trust in the authorities. A flashy banner that sugarcoats their newly found sense of responsibility is of little effect. So yes, this is the way I see it. A month of attention then 11 months of “we catch them if we see them.”

Is that the image you want of the people tasked with protecting us every day? I sure don’t! This is their chosen profession, no one forced them to sign on the dotted line. That signature carries the responsibility of thinking way above their own comfort. As such, and as a matter of job description, they MUST be on alert all the time. Otherwise they’re no different than any one motorist on the road.

This campaign doesn’t inspire trust, it only proves neglect. Same as the DUI checkpoints, or the seat belt campaigns, or whatever other campaigns they flash to the public to make them feel “safe and secure.”

19 Incognito March 28, 2014 at 11:59 AM

People are truly clueless. Still maintain the “it will never happen to me” syndrome until the day something serious happens, like killing someone, and perhaps even yourself. Just about every other driver on the road is holding a cell phone. They are either on it talking or staring at it while driving… what are you all afraid of? You might have to wait five minutes to answer a text or a phone call?

20 Cowellian March 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Googlar@7,
You are correct. The law was written to explicitly exempt police from this law.

21 Me-Me March 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM

That twitspotting site is pretty funny. Great idea too.

22 WTF? March 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Excellent. Nothing cant wait until you get home.

23 Killjoy March 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM

How do you folks feel about people who use a hands free kit?
A Bluetooth in the ear? Or a Bluetooth wireless system built right into the car?
Some phones have voice to text as well. Push a button on the steering wheel (where your hands are already) and tell it to read you the new text. You can also reply the same way.

24 Lori R March 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Dawn did you read this? Love Auntie

25 Suzanne March 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Hands free kits are still legal–it’t only the foolish who text and drive.

26 ChampagneKitty March 28, 2014 at 1:36 PM

to just a concordian #18–Thank you for responding to my comment in a civilized and adult manner. Some people are quick to launch personal attacks on others expressing their opinions. You didn’t do that to me and I appreciate that. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. While campaigns like this may not have an immediate impact, I still think they are good because they raise awareness.

This reminds me of the seat belt law. I can remember when it became illegal to drive without a seat belt. My memory isn’t crystal clear because I was a kid at the time and not yet driving . But as I remember it, at first people largely ignored the new law. It took a lot of awareness campaigns, which is still going on, and some ticket writing but eventually drivers changed their behavior and today most drivers buckle up before they drive. Police departments cannot afford to dedicate all of their resources to go after drivers not wearing their seat belts. I think the awareness campaigns deserve a lot of the credit. And it’s the same for talking+texting while driving. We can’t see immediate results but over time it will have a positive impact.

27 anonanonagain March 28, 2014 at 1:46 PM

I see so many people looking down into their laps while driving. Driving slow, checking an e-mail or texting. It’s pathetic. People are so addicted to their phones that they have lost all logical reasoning. They have to check their Facebook, Twitter, or whatever darn site that is hot right now, every second of the day. Get a life.
It’s not worth the risk for something as insipid as your FB page or idle banter. You could kill someone including yourself. We’ve seen it happen. The arrogance of those that think they can multitask is astounding and pair it up with speed and red light runners and you’ve got some pretty hazardous roads out there…….

28 itsme March 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM

About time! You can’t go more than 2 blocks without passing a driver on the phone or texting

29 Me-Me March 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Realign MADD, Mothers Against Distracted Driving.

30 just a concordian March 28, 2014 at 2:13 PM

@ChampagneKitty

Is this the first argument in Claycord solved in an amicable manner?

I understand your point about the seatbelt. The nature of the seatbelt itself is very intrusive. But I fully believe it its use and I have refused to carry people in my car who didn’t want to wear one. That being said, while the reasoning behind both campaigns is worthy, I feel the enforcement should happen intensively 24/7, not just intense during one month. I hope, if there is something good to come out of this campaign is that people feel scared enough to not do it anymore and officers feel obligated to be just as attentive in the following months of the year.

31 anon March 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

CPD should hang out by our schools and ticket students and role model teachers talking on their phones while driving to school.

32 Maybe March 28, 2014 at 2:44 PM

I agree with others who say raise the fine. Make it outrageously high, $1000 or more for a first offense. Better yet treat it the same as a DUI. Some traffic violations can happen by mistake but texting and DUI are conscious decisions people make and they are choosing to put other at risk. Unacceptable!!

33 Incognito March 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

@Rose Garden #6
Cell phone usage and texting while driving is certainly not a distraction determined by “generation” because those of all ages are doing it.

34 Rose Garden March 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

@ Incognito-33

That’s not what I meant. I guess “by decade” would spell it out more clearly.

People of all ages do talk on cell and text while driving, but it’s still more common among young people, which would make it generational.

I know people my age who have never sent a text in their life. You find me someone our kids ages (3 kids in their 20′s) who claim they’ve sent a text message, I’ll find you a liar!

It’s true and everybody knows it.

35 Rose Garden March 28, 2014 at 6:03 PM

That would be never sent a text message.

36 anon March 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Is there a difference between a person texting on a cell phone while driving and a Cop typing on a keyboard in his patrol car while driving?

37 Cowellian March 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Yes anon@36, there is a huge difference. Texting on a cell phone is illegal, and will cost you a lot of money if you are caught at it.

38 Cowellian March 28, 2014 at 7:04 PM

just a concordian@30 and ChampagneKitty@26, I’m really enjoying seeing people being able to disagree with each other in a civilized manner. The Mayor’s new moderation policies have eliminated much of the name-calling and personal attacks that were so prevalent on Claycord for many months,

39 ChampagneKitty March 28, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Cowellian, the last time you said that, I sent your comment in an email to the Mayor to make sure he saw it. He appreciated it. :-)

40 KAD March 28, 2014 at 8:38 PM

This fine is not stiff enough. People are being killed because some folks think they are so important that they have to be texting all the time. Hitting them in the pocketbook is the only thing that will get their attention.

41 anon March 28, 2014 at 8:52 PM

@Cowellian,
I’m not talking about money but that both are a distraction while you drive and can cause an accident and kill someone. I’ll bet there are more accidents in Police vehicles since they installed computers with keyboards.

42 Jimmy Hoffa March 28, 2014 at 8:56 PM

I still see doofuses do this repeatedly. I don’t want to pay a fine, therefore I do not use the phone and drive. And I notice this more on my bike, sometimes I will use enough throttle to evade, and decelerate after the offender is in my mirrors. Praying that if caught speeding in short bursts, the officer would be reasonable and notice the texter and accept it was a necessary move to avoid a hazardous situation.

43 Dawn March 28, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Yes aunti Lori I read it !! Ty <3

44 Cowellian March 28, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Anyone that follows Claycord knows that the local police do sometimes get into accidents, but I’ve never seen any statistics about their accidents being caused by some sort of distracted driving. If there are studies, I would be very interested in seeing them.

But the bottom line is that the legislature intentionally chose to allow police to use cell phones while driving while the rest of us are not allowed to.

45 NRA #1 fan and member March 28, 2014 at 10:01 PM

I admit I talk on speaker phone while patrolling Claycord and Running errands. i do feel I’m privileged over others which is why I continue to use my speaker phone with phone in hand while driving………..besides its much safer than holding the phone to my ear and I can easily afford the $160 ticket……so why not???

46 Anon March 29, 2014 at 2:47 AM

“Is there a difference between a person texting on a cell phone while driving and a Cop typing on a keyboard in his patrol car while driving?”

It was against City policy when the MDT (now MDC) came out.

47 Teacher Wannabe March 29, 2014 at 8:13 AM

@Googlar #7. Apparently becoming a cop automatically helps you become more aware so you can talk/text, work on your laptop AND watch traffic…all at the same time.

48 TeamUSA March 29, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Just pull over…or occupy yourself in the hour long morning commute that it takes to drive Ygnacio 7 miles…

Heck…your entire morning routine can be done in that commute…with exception to the shower.

49 slagheap March 29, 2014 at 9:44 PM

whatever they’re doing, it’s not enough – using hand held devices while driving & at stoplights is absolutely rampant in concord. i see it EVERY TIME i drive around town. i drive a lot thru concord, pacheco, buchannan field, sun valley mall, willow pass rd corridor, clayton road, etc. and i see it every day, everywhere.

50 Deputy Fife March 30, 2014 at 12:13 AM

We defy the Mafia!

51 homeward March 30, 2014 at 12:58 AM

Yes,security is at stake if you text and drive. You won’t get to your next bed post on time!

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