In just one day alone, 74 citations were issued in the City of Goleta for the use of cell phones while driving. These citations include talking on the phone without a hands-free device as well as reading and sending text messages, all of which are infractions. Of the 74 people who received citations on January 19, five were found to be driving without valid California licenses.
The initiative to crack down on cell phone use is part of the Goleta Police Department’s new “zero tolerance” campaign. According to a press release issued by Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars, it’s the program’s hope that drivers will be more vigilant of the laws surrounding phone usage while driving, which will greatly reduce the number of traffic collisions. In the future, the operation will not be announced beforehand, he said.
Many drivers, noted Sugars, believe that the use of their cell phone is permitted if the phone is on speaker. On the contrary: If the phone remains in the driver’s hand, it counts as an infraction, regardless of whether or not it is on the speaker-phone option. For a first-time offender, the fine can reach up to $200, a price significantly higher than the cost of a hands-free device, Sugars said.