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April 12, 2011 > Fremont Police clamp down on drivers using cell phones

Fremont Police clamp down on drivers using cell phones

Submitted By Detective Bill Veteran, Fremont PD

Law enforcement across the state is cracking down on cell phone use and texting. The Fremont Police Department has joined efforts to clamp down on distracted drivers and as part of California's first Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, over 225 local agencies plus 103 CHP Area Commands will conduct zero tolerance enforcements. A ticket for violating either the hands-free or no texting law costs a minimum of $159; subsequent tickets cost $279.

Distracted driving is one of the leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into serious injury crashes. "We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said Fremont PD Traffic Lieutenant Mark Riggs. "Cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that we are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159?"

Studies show that there is no difference between risks of hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations; both can result in "inattention blindness" when the brain isn't seeing what is clearly visible because the driver's focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. There are simple measures drivers can take to minimize distractions in the vehicle:

Turn your phone off or put it out of reach before starting the car.

Alert callers that you are unable to take calls when driving by changing your voice mail message.

Make it a point not to call or text anyone who may be driving, such as during the commute to and from work or school, especially parents calling teen drivers.

If you need to make an important call or respond to a text message, pull over to a safe place to do so.

Using one of the available mobile phone apps that holds calls and incoming texts is also a good option.

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