An early March effort to deter drivers from using their cell phones while driving resulted in eight citations for either texting or talking on the phone in the Goleta area. Nine people were issued warnings. “We base our stops on actually seeing people talking or texting without using a hands-free feature while driving,” said Sgt. John Maxwell. He added that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and that two more operations are planned.
The state Office of Traffic Safety conducted a study in 2018 that found 0.35 percent of drivers in Santa Barbara County used a handheld device while driving and half a percent talked on the phone while driving. Either will net a $162 fine for a first offense and $285 for a second. Drivers are not allowed to hold their phone for any reason; cell phones must be mounted on the vehicle and only touched to turn a call on or off.