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B Careful Where U Txt, Cop Sez

A crackdown on drivers who misuse cell phones is planned for April.

U shdnt txt & drive in April.

As part of California’s second annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Orange County police and deputies will join a statewide crackdown on drivers who send text messages or talk on cell phones without a hands-free device.

The minimum fine is $160, according to a Sheriff's Department press release.

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into serious crashes, officials said. And drivers under age 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time as much as being drunk, the press release said.

“California’s cell and texting laws have made a big difference – cutting deaths by nearly half. But half is not enough,” said Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy.

To minimize distractions in the vehicle, police recommend several steps:

• Turn off your phone or put it out of reach before starting the car.
• Avoid calling or texting friends and family during their commutes to and from work or school.
• If you need to make an important call or respond to a text message, pull over to a safe place first.

Oracle March 31, 2012 at 01:34 AM
About a week or two after the cell phone laws went into effect a couple years ago, two of us were riding bikes on the city bike route. Here comes a cop in his cruiser, talking on his cell, rolls through a stop and almost hits us. If I wasn't so frightened by the incident, I would have laugh my arse off.
met00 March 31, 2012 at 07:18 AM
Okay, you are driving. The person in front of you is doing 1/2 the speed limit. Are they 1) On the cell 2) Old 3) Other Depending on where you live in the county 2 or 3 can be common, but 1 is an almost constant. DUI is a real danger, but cell use is far worse as one key group that does it the most is young people who are just learning to drive, and should be paying more attention to the road, not less (said as the father of a 17 year old who has seen my child jump as every vibration). On the other hand, the non-enforcement of the law makes the law a joke. The proper way to handle this is to do what is done in car accidents today. If you are going in reverse, the accident is MOST likely your fault. If you are hit from behind the accident is MOST likely not your fault. So, here is the deal. If you are in an accident your insurance company has the right to your cell records. If you were texting or talking while driving, it was MOST likely your fault. So, when I see you going slow in front of me on the cell phone, pass you and then slam on my breaks, I get the new car, you get the points. That happens enough, maybe you will stop talking/texting while driving, if you can still afford to get auto insurance.
Jeffrey Moller March 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Does this apply to the deputies themselves? Seems like everytime I see a patrol car on the road or stopped at a light the officer is busy using their phone. As I am fairly sure that cell phones are not issued as part of their standard law enforcement equipment, has anyone review this new law with them to ensure their compliance?
Mick March 31, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Chances are, if you see a deputy on the cell phone while driving, he/she is online with a supervisor, Radio transmissions are limited to a minute or less, After that, the frequency cuts out and transmission is lost and must be re-established. Therefore, it is more convenient and timely to use the phone. Other than that, the Deputy may be phoning in secure information that cannot be intercepted by civilians with police radios.
Jeffrey Moller March 31, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I understand, but I think that makes the point. Even though they spend more time on the road than most of us, they are still human and subject to the effects of distraction. If they need to use the phone while they are in motion they should be using a "Hands Free" device as we are required to use. Otherwise they should pull over. Safety should be our first consideration.

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