REDLANDS (CBSLA.com) — As part of April's "Distracted Driving Awareness Month" campaign, the Redlands Police Department, along with the California Highway Patrol and more than 200 local agencies, will be conducting zero tolerance enforcement on distracted drivers.
Those who use handheld devices are four times more likely to cause accidents, authorities said.
"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," Redlands Police Chief Mark A. Garcia said in a statement.
Drivers who break the law will be cited without a warning.
CHP Officer Al Perez told KNX 1070 the first citation is a minimum of $159, and a subsequent citation costs nearly $300.
"To drive our vehicles safely, it takes 100 percent of our attention and any distraction that takes our eyes off the roadway, increases the potential of being involved in a traffic collision," Perez said.
More than 3,300 died nationwide in 2011 during collisions that involved at least one distracted driver, according to officials.
"This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road," Garcia said.
Recent studies show texting while driving delays a driver's reaction time similar to those driving drunk.
To avoid a distracted driving ticket or crash, the Redlands Police Department offered drivers the following tips:
- Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving
- Include in your outgoing message that you can't answer while you are driving
- Don't call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving
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