Fresno police cited 119 drivers for cell phone violations during a distracted enforcement operation on Saturday, the department said.
Even though distracted driving laws have been on the books in California since 2008, drivers routinely ignore the prohibition.
A Harris Poll commissioned by Washington, D.C.-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety in 2022 indicated that 70% of drivers reported using a mobile device while driving for personal
reasons over a three-month period. And, 86% of people said they used a smartphone while driving as part of their work duties over the same period.
Distracted Driving Caused 3,522 US Deaths in 2021
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving led to 3,522 U.S. deaths in 2021.
In comparison, the NHTSA says that 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired collisions in 2020.
Under a 2021 California law, violating the hands-free requirement for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense adds a point to a driver’s record.
That puts two cell phone tickets within three years on par with violations such as speeding, running a red light, an at-fault accident, and an unsafe lane change.
First Ticket Will Cost at Least $162
A texting-while-driving ticket in California brings a fine of at least $162 ($20 base plus fees) for a first citation. The fine is at least $285 ($50 base plus fees) if caught a second time, says the San Diego law firm Berman & Riedel.
Funding for Fresno PD’s distracted driving crackdown came from an NHTSA federal grant administered by the California Office of Traffic Safety.