CHP teams are more regularly combating texting while driving by issuing tickets to violators. One team in particular watching Interstate 10 from Fontanta to the Los Angeles county line issued 76 ciations on Wednesday alone. Extra patrols are being instigated each quarter to reduce the number of drivers who text or talk on a phone without a hands-free device. “People were seeing the Highway Patrol was out in force,” a CHP spokesman says. “We just want people to be aware and focus their full attention to their driving.” Safety experts say in 2008 one-quarter of car accidents in California involved a driver using their cell phone.
Other violations drivers are being increasingly ticketed for include speeding and not wearing seat belts, but distracted driving remains high on the list of priorities. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood held two national summits on distracted driving, and the California Office of Traffic Safety included prevention of cell phone use and texting part of the highway safety plan. According to a report by the Automobile Club of Southern California, almost 3% of drivers are using a cell phone while driving, and other studies show that drivers have not decreased cell phone use since laws went into effect in July 2008, and six months later the law making texting and driving illegal.
According to news reports, violators pay $20 their first-time, and $50 for each subsequent violation. In Riverside and San Bernardino, fines are over $100 due to additional court costs. As a Riverside personal injury lawyer, I hope the numbers of citations given out for texting and driving continue to drop.