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Drop That Phone: Napa Police Crack Down on Drivers Today

Distracted driving is the target and today's the day for saturation enforcement, according to the Napa Police Department traffic czar.

 

Napa police are looking for distracted drivers today, according to a press release from Sgt. Paul Paniagua of the :

Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited. The current minimum ticket cost is $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.

Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk. As a result, law enforcement across the state, including Napa PD are increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting ....

“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously.” said Napa Police Department Chief Rich Melton.

“Cell phone use and texting while driving is such a serious concern that we are putting officers on the road to enforce zero tolerance. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159?”

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.  Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.  

In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver.

Studies show that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. 

When over one-third of your brain’s functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone “zombie.”

“Turn off your phone and put it out of reach as you get into the car,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. 

“Think before you call or text someone.  If there is a chance they may be driving, let it wait.  It’s not worth it.”

Paniagua's press release did not give specific hours for the May 21 zero-tolerance enforcement.

In April, 2011, for using the cell phones to make calls or to text.

For more about distracted driving, please see

Unfiltered Steve Simoneau May 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Part 2, John: You want to use fines as a deterrent? Here is a short list of distracting activities that are just as dangerous while driving and were around LONG before cell phones: Eating, reading, applying make-up, shaving, grooming, map reading, lighting a cigarette, looking through music selections, wiping window fog, and many others. Not a single one of them is the focus of a specific law where the violator is required to pay a determined fine. The cell phone was targeted because it keeps a data log of the specific time it was in use. Can't fight a ticket if your phone record proves it was in use during the time of violation. Easy money. Never said it wasn't a deterent, just that the State law makers saw it as easy as picking money up off the ground.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau May 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Part 3, John: NO ONE should be texting while driving! PERIOD! But I think something that would terrify me just as much is if I was behind you and saw you "constantly" watching me in your mirror to see if I was "young and texting" rather than keeping your eyes on the road. Whether my eyes are glued to a phone screen or your eyes are glued to a rear-view mirror it's equally dangerous. One more thing: Why is it OKay and legal to stare at the GPS device while driving?
Scott Yeager May 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM
It is very different if you are talking on a cell phone compared to a person in the car next to you. Since there have been decades of the in car conversations and just about a decade of cell phone conversations. Judging by just my experience, and I think data will back it up, people talking on cell phones are much more dangerous and it has something to do with the person not being physically present and your focus being directed to a voice coming out of a phone held up to your ear diverting your attention and one hand on the steering wheel. What's funny and scary at the same time is watching someone talking on a cell phone, driving with one hand and the car is a stick shift. People are crazy and they will take your life in their hands doing things they shouldn't do but will do because they are selfish and don't care that they are taking your life in their hands.
Jeffrey Wright May 22, 2012 at 12:12 AM
So basically shut the hell up and drive ......
Kathy Moon May 22, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I wish there was a number to call to report drivers on their phones! ( if there is one let me know) I drive for a living and I see it daily! Today I was behind a driver on his phone who slowed to below 40 MPH in a 55 MPH zone and that made the car behind me pass us both in a bad stretch of the road which was dangerous! When you are driving, that is all you should be doing! JUST DRIVE!

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