If you use your cell phone while driving in Belmont, police are warning they will catch you.
As part of the statewide , the Belmont Police Department will beef up its effort to catch distracted drivers today and Wednesday.
“Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited,” Belmont police Lt. Pat Halleran said in a statement.
A minimum ticket is $159, and a second ticket costs at least $279.
Today and Wednesday, the Police Department will deploy traffic officers specifically to watch for distracted drivers, Halleran said, in addition to this month's increased enforcement.
The Police Department has joined more than 225 law enforcement agencies throughout California as part of the state's first Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to police.
Less experienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, police said. Additionally, 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.
The Police Department offers the following tips to keep the roads safe:
- Turn your phone off or put it out of reach before starting the car.
- Alert callers that you are unable to take calls when driving by changing your voicemail message.
- Make it a point not to call or text anyone who may be driving, such as during the commute to and from work or school, especially parents calling teen drivers.
- If you do need to make an important call or respond to a text message, pull over to a safe place to do so.
- If going cold turkey is too much of a stretch and you just can’t turn your phone off, consider using one of the available mobile phone apps that holds calls and incoming texts.
“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously,” Police Chief Don Mattei said in a statement. “Cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that we are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance.”