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Placer Sheriff’s Office to continue distracted driving enforcement

Enforcement of cell phone laws part of federal pilot program
By: Staff Report
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Tips to avoid distracted driving

-- Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach and include in your outgoing message that you can’t answer while you are driving.

-- Don’t call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving.

Thanks in part to grant funding, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office will continue to crack down on districted driving from Feb. 25 to March 8. 

The extended enforcement of cell phone laws is part of a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to eliminate motorists’ hand-held use of cell phones. 

The effort is a federally funded pilot program using the region to test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future.

Placer County Sheriff’s Office deputies will be out in force in Colfax, North Auburn and Loomis during this second phase of the enforcement to issue tickets to drivers using hand-held cell phones or texting. 

Distracted drivers in Placer County talking on hand-held cell phones or texting will receive a first-time ticket costing a minimum of $159, with a second offense costing $279.  But the goal of the special enforcement operation is not to issue tickets, but to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

 “Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving on the streets of Placer County is dangerous to everyone on the roadways,” Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner said in a release.  “Deputies will be out looking, and will be ticketing with zero tolerance.”

California’s distracted driving law bans all drivers from using hand-held devices and texting while operating a motor vehicle. Yet, in 2011, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported 460,487 hand-held cell phone convictions, up from 361,260 in 2010.