It’s a potentially deadly distraction on the rise and law enforcement agencies statewide are taking action to stop drivers on their phones.
During the month of April, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Watsonville Police Department will have extra officers on patrol, looking drivers breaking California’s hands-free cellphone law.
First-time offenders face a $162 fine.
WPD Officer Devon McMahon explains some of the key things you need to know about the current cellphone law.
Drivers are prohibited from using their phone in a hands-free manner. The phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function.
If you need to make a call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location. Struggling to stay off the phone while driving? Put your phone in a place you can’t reach, like the backseat or trunk (this really does works).
As mentioned, distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves a cell phone. Preliminary data from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), shows that 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 were injured from distracted driving-related crashes in 2017.
Funding for distracted driving enforcement operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
P.S. We really hope you’re not reading this while driving.