As part of this month’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, the Santa Barbara Police Department will be offering “zero tolerance” to those texting or operating hand-held cell phones on Monday April 4, 2011, and Tuesday April 5, 2011. Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited. The current minimum ticket cost is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.
Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk. As a result, law enforcement across the state, including the Santa Barbara Police Department are increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting. This April will see over 225 local agencies plus the 103 CHP Area Commands conducting zero tolerance enforcements.
The Santa Barbara Police Department is deploying traffic officers above and beyond the normal traffic enforcement on:
April 4th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
April 5th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously.” said Sergeant Mike McGrew. “Cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that we are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159?”
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. In addition, 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.
Studies show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road.