During the month of April the participated in ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement efforts for illegal cell phone use and texting violations as part of California’s second annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Belmont police supplied the following final numbers for distracted driving citations issued during the campaign in Belmont:
- 23123(a) VC - Using a cell phone w/o hands free device 59 citations
- 23123.5 VC - Texting/reading text based communication 1 citation
- 23124(b) VC - Minor using electronic communication device 0 citations
- Other distracted driving violations* 21
The total number of distracted driving citations issued by Belmont PD during this year’s campaign was 81, which is down from the 97 citations issued during last year’s campaign.
“Hopefully, this is an indication that the driving public has come to realize just how dangerous distracted driving can be”, said Belmont Police Chief Don Mattei.
“Our goal is not having to write any citations for these offenses,” Mattei added.
One officer stopped a driver for texting while driving. “The driver was traveling at 30 MPH and clearly not looking at the road,” said Lieutenant Patrick Halleran.
“However, when the officer asked him what he was texting, the driver admitted he was not texting, but was watching YouTube videos…He was cited,” Halleran added.
Police say that a ticket for violating either the hands free or no texting law costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets cost as much as $279.
During 2011, Belmont police issued almost 500 citations for illegal cell phone use or texting violations.
Halleran said distracted driving joins speeding and alcohol as the leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.
[*Other distracted driving violations included unsafe lane changes, impeding the flow of traffic, unsafe speed, failing to yield right-of-way, stop signs and following too closely violations which we were able to articulate the cause of the violation was a distracted driver (talking to passengers, dog in lap, reaching for items in vehicle, etc).]