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March 31, 2015 > Crackdown on cell phone use behind the wheel

Crackdown on cell phone use behind the wheel

Submitted By Sgt. Frank Morales, Milpitas PD

As part of AprilÕs Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, Milpitas Police Department will be joining over 200 local law enforcement agencies and California Highway Patrol in a month-long zero tolerance enforcement campaign to curb those texting or operating handheld cell phones while driving. Officers will be on alert throughout the month for those who break the cell phone laws and place themselves and others in danger.

The increased enforcement aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior. The ÒItÕs Not Worth It!Ó theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isnÕt worth a hefty fine or a collision. The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.

Drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driverÕs reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver. According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Even a three second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.

Research shows that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and handheld cell phone conversations, both of which can result in Òinattention blindness,Ó which occurs when the brain isnÕt seeing what is clearly visible because the driverÕs focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. When over one third of your brainÕs functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone Òzombie.Ó

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