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Distraction-free driving starts with you

By Union City Police Department

First citation $159, subsequent offenses at least $279

UNION CITY, Calif. -- The Union City Police Department (UCPD) participated in the April 2013 Distracted Driving Awareness campaign, sponsored by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Highway Patrol.

UCPD committed to this campaign because distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk. In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in California because of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted. Nationally, an estimated 3,331 died in 2011. Consequently, law enforcement across the state, including UCPD, has adopted a firmer stance on cell phone use and texting by motorists.

Drivers, who use hand-held devices, are four times more likely to be involved in crashes resulting in serious injury. Inexperienced drivers, under 20-years old, account for the largest proportion of distraction-related fatalities. Studies also show that texting behind the wheel can delay a driver’s reaction time to the same extent as the minimum blood alcohol level of a drunk driver.

In April 2013, UCPD issued 506 citations for solely distracted driving violations. These statistics not only recognize UCPD’s dedication to this campaign but also the large number of drivers who place themselves and others in danger. The current minimum ticket cost for distracted driving is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.

To avoid a citation, UCPD advises 1) Turn off your phone and/or place it out of reach while driving; 2) Your outgoing voice message should mention that you cannot answer while driving; 3) Do not schedule calls or text messages when you need to drive.

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