Santa Monica Police To Crack Down On Motorists Who Use Cell Phones While Driving

Monday, 8 Apr 2013, 1:05:00 PM

Brenton Garen

Santa Monica motorists who talk or text on cell phones while driving

will be the focus of a three-month Santa Monica Police Department

traffic enforcement program.

The SMPD’s Traffic Enforcement Section will be on extra look out for these offenders for the months of April, May, and June.

SMPD Lt. Jay Trisler said it is against the law to text on your phone

at any time while driving and to drive while talking on your phone

without a handsfree device.

Trisler said the California law on hand-held cell phones, one of the

first in the nation, went into effect in 2008. The ban on texting

followed in 2009.

The SMPD has issued the following information on what constitutes a violation:

-- A person (of any age) holding a cell phone in his/her hand and

using the speakerphone, or as is most commonly seen, holding the cell

phone to the ear (whether on speakerphone or not), would constitute a

violation of 23123(a).

-- Juveniles are not allowed to use cell phones at all while driving

with or without an earpiece, and whether or not on speakerphone.

-- “Write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an

electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with

any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited

to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or

electronic mail. Scrolling for a name or phone number in a cell phone,

or entering a phone number does not constitute texting.

The Santa Monica Police Department suggests the following to avoid

receiving a citation, or worse yet, injury, or killing someone:

-- Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving.

-- Include in your outgoing message that you can’t answer while you are driving.

-- Don’t call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving.

-- Adjust controls and set your song play list before you set out on the road.

-- Stay alert and keep your mind on the task of driving – often after

a long day at work or a not so restful night’s sleep, people’s minds

can wander when behind the wheel.

-- If you find yourself daydreaming – clear your head and focus on the road.

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