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Sheriff targets distracted drivers in Colfax

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The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its enforcement of cell phone laws from through March 8.

The enforcement is part of a grant to eliminate motorists’ hand-held cell phone use and texting.  The effort is a special federally funded pilot program using the region to test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future.

Deputies are out in force in the city of Colfax, north Auburn and Loomis during this second phase of the enforcement to issue tickets to drivers using hand-held cell phones or texting. 

“Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving on the streets of Placer County is dangerous to everyone on the roadways,” said Sheriff Ed Bonner.  “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 handheld cell phone convictions, up from 361,260 in 2010. 

Distracted drivers in Placer County talking on a hand-held cell phone 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. Drivers should turn off their phone and/or put it out of reach. They shuld also Include in their outgoing message that they can’t answer while driving. Also, don’t call or text anyone at a time when they may be driving.

The effort is possible by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).