As part of the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, the Mill Valley Police Department will be actively ticketing those drivers texting or operating hand-held devices during the entire month of April. Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited with no warnings given. This April all California law enforcement agencies, along with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), will be conducting zero tolerance enforcement under the state's Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) campaign called "It's Not Worth It." The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.
Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk. In recent years, thousands have been killed and seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted. Nationally, an estimated 3,331 persons died in 2011 due to distracted driving. As a result, law enforcement across the state, including the Mill Valley Police Department, are cracking down on cell phone use and texting.
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into serious-injury crashes.
- Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- Texting while driving can delay a driver's reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver.
- There is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations because they both result in "inattention blindness" that occurs when the brain isn't seeing what is clearly visible because over one-third of the driver's brain is focused on the conversation not on driving.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. A three second glance at freeway speed means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.
To avoid a distracted driving ticket or a crash, the Mill Valley Police Department offers the following tips:
- Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving
- Don't call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving
- Include in your outgoing phone message that you can't answer while you are driving
The National Safety Council has more information on distracted driving and Toyota has a program directly targeted to teens and safe driving.
DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING -- IT'S NOT WORTH IT