There are laws on the books in California prohibiting you from texting or talking on the phone while driving, unless you can do it hands-free. But there are not enough police officers to enforce every violation.
So, despite the law and the risks of using your cell phone while driving, a lot of people do it anyway. That leads to crashes the violators often survive, but their victims don’t.
In support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s U Drive. U Text. U Pay, high-visibility enforcement campaign, the Palm Springs Police Department reminds drivers to put down the phone when you drive.
From Oct. 8th to Oct. 12th 2020, the Palm Springs Police Department will join other law enforcement agencies across the state with increased patrols that focus on drivers who break California’s hands-free cell phone law.
Distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves cell phones or other electronics that take your eyes off the road.
Last year, the CHP issued nearly 20,000 tickets during the month of April alone to drivers who were on their cell phone. And thousands of others violated the law, but simply did not get caught.
According to an online survey conducted this year by the Office of Traffic Safety, University of California, Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, and Ewaid and Wasserman Research Consultants, 75.1% of surveyed drivers listed “Distracted Driving because of TEXTING” as their biggest safety concern.
Distracted driving laws have been in effect since 2008. Under the 2017 hands-free cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a phone or other electronic device while behind the wheel. First-time offenders face a $157 fine.
If you need to call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location. Silence your phone before starting the car or place the phone somewhere you can’t reach it, such as the glove box or trunk.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Photo from Palm Springs CA Police Dept