Monday, April 9, 2012
Local law enforcement agencies are focusing their attention on motorists who are talking on their phones and texting while driving this week.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol are conducting what they’re calling "zero tolerance enforcement operations" this week. Their focus: Drivers who are talking and texting on hand-held cell phones.
It's part of the second annual National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving has been illegal in California since 2008. Texting while driving has been illegal in the state since 2009.
But, the California Office of Transportation Safety says cell phone use while driving is on the rise, and so are related crashes and fatalities.
Spokesman Chris Cochran said talking on your cell phone while driving is dangerous, even if it's hands free.
“Studies have shown that cell phone talking can disengage more than a third of your brain functioning that’s needed to drive a car safely. The danger factor between hands-free and hand-held is not that big because the main distraction is the conversation itself," he said.
Cochran said traffic accidents that can be directly related to cell-phone use make up about 5 percent of all roadway fatalities.