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Paso Robles Calif. – Paso Robles Police Department cited 54
drivers for violating California’s hands-free cell phone law as part of a
larger effort to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving.
“April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and it is
important for drivers to understand the huge risks they take using their cell
phones behind the wheel,” Paso Robles Police Department Commander Davis. “It’s
careless, dangerous and illegal. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road,
not their phone.”
Under the most recent cell phone law that went into effect
in 2017, drivers are prohibited from having a phone in their hand for any
reason and can only use their phone in a hands-free manner. The phones must be
mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched
once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function.
First-time offenders face a $162 fine.
A 2018 observational survey by the California Office of
Traffic Safety (OTS) on driver cell phone use found about 4.5 percent of
drivers are still using their cell phone, and more often to perform a function
on the phone, versus talking.
“When drivers look down at their phone to read or sent a
text, check GPS or scroll through social media, they are taking their eyes off
the road, which is incredibly dangerous,” Paso Robles Police Department
Commander Davis. “There is a reason it is against the law.”
If you need to make a call or text someone, Paso Robles
Police Department suggests pulling over and parking at a safe location. If you
are unable to resist the urge and stay off the phone while driving, put your
phone in a place you can’t reach, like the backseat or trunk.
In addition to phones, other serious distractions include
eating, grooming, reaching for fallen objects, fiddling with the radio or
console controls and changing clothes. Paso Robles Police Department encourages
everyone to avoid distractions and go safely.
Funding for distracted driving enforcement is provided by a
grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.