El Cerrito police issued an average of about 15 citations per day for distracted driving in April during the second annual statewide crackdown on texting and cell-phone use by motorists, police said Thursday.
El Cerrito police Sgt. Shawn Maples said 445 citations were issued in El Cerrito in this year's .
Statewide, local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol issued more than 57,000 tickets in April for using a hand-held phone or texting while driving, according to a press release from the CHP and the state Office of Traffic Safety. An additional 3,800 citations were given out for other distracted driving violations, the agencies said. The total from the previous April, the first year of the effort, was 52,000 tickets, the agencies said.
El Cerrito issued 600 citations in April of 2011, a higher number than this year, Maples said. The number was down this year "due to the retirement of officer and the fact that another traffic officer was on vacation," he said.
A first-time citation will cost a minimum of $159, with a second violation at least $279, according to the state news release.
The CHP and Office of Traffic Safety urged the following steps to avoid distracted driving:
Following a few uncomplicated steps would go a long way in keeping you safe from distracted driving:
- Put your cell phone out of reach when you get in the car so you won’t be tempted to use it.
- Mention on your outgoing voicemail message that you can’t answer because you might be driving.
- Don’t call or text anyone when there is a good chance that they may be driving.
- If you must call or text, pull into a parking space.
- The ability to safely multi-task while driving is myth.
- Never eat, groom, program a GPS, check Facebook, run an app, read or otherwise allow your full attention to leave the task of safely driving.