IRVINE, California — Gotta text? Gotta make that call and forget to use your hands-free device? If you do it behind the wheel in Irvine on the first Thursday of each month this year be prepared to cough up $156 for a first offense and $279 for a second offense.
Beginning Feb. 2, the Irvine Police Department began stepping up its enforcement of distracted driving by dedicating themselves to ticketing violators who are not keeping their eyes on the road while driving. The police will conduct regular enforcement of distracted drivers on Thursdays in an effort to keep streets safer.
The police department tested the effectiveness of their distracted driver crackdown on Jan. 5 this year and efforts paid off. They issued 182 citations including 136 for distracted driving, mostly drivers using cell phones.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to be involved in an injury related collision. In fact. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on US roadways and an estimated 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving.
“Distracted drivers had better reconsider picking up that cell phone,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. “It’s not worth a huge fine and it’s certainly not worth risking your life or someone else’s life.”
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