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Santa Monica Police Crack Down on Distracted Drivers


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By Lookout Staff

April 11, 2018 -- Santa Monica police on Friday will crack down on motorists who use their cell pones while driving as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, officials announced Monday.

During April, Sana Monica police will deploy extra traffic officers at locations with higher numbers of traffic collisions, and the California Department of Transportation will post distracted driving messages on electronic freeway signs.

The stepped-up campaign is part of a statewide effort to further reduce the number of collisions involving distracted drivers.

Preliminary 2017 data shows a dramatic drop in the number of such collisions since the hands-free law went into effect in 2008.

Last year, nearly 22,000 drivers were involved in distracted driving collisions in California, down from the more than 33,000 drivers in 2007, the data show.

Still, distracted driving remains "a serious safety challenge in California," state traffic authorities said.

Traffic officers have issued hundreds of thousands of citations over the past three years to those texting or calling on a hand-held cell phone. Recent legislation now makes it illegal to use your smartphone’s apps will driving.

The goal, said SMPD spokesman Lt. Saul Rodriguez, "is to increase voluntary compliance by drivers, but sometimes citations are necessary for motorists to better understand the importance of a driving distraction."

According tppo state authorities, "traffic officers have issued hundreds of thousands of citations over the past three years to those texting or calling on a hand-held cell phone."

They note that recent legislation now makes it illegal to use smartphone’s apps will driving.

SMPD has provided drivers with the following Safety Tips:

* If you receive a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location, but "never" on a freeway.

* Designate your passenger as your “designated texter” and allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.

* Don't engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.

* Those who find it hard to resist using cells phones should put their device in the trunk or back seat.

Those found in violation of the law will be stopped and cited with fines set at $162 for first time offenders.

This month's campaign is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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