Santa Monica motorists who talk or text on cell phones while driving will be the focus of a three-month Santa Monica Police Department traffic enforcement program.
The SMPD’s Traffic Enforcement Section will be on extra look out for these offenders for the months of April, May, and June.
SMPD Lt. Jay Trisler said it is against the law to text on your phone at any time while driving and to drive while talking on your phone without a handsfree device.
Trisler said the California law on hand-held cell phones, one of the first in the nation, went into effect in 2008. The ban on texting followed in 2009.
The SMPD has issued the following information on what constitutes a violation:
— A person (of any age) holding a cell phone in his/her hand and using the speakerphone, or as is most commonly seen, holding the cell phone to the ear (whether on speakerphone or not), would constitute a violation of 23123(a).
— Juveniles are not allowed to use cell phones at all while driving with or without an earpiece, and whether or not on speakerphone.
— “Write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail. Scrolling for a name or phone number in a cell phone, or entering a phone number does not constitute texting.
The Santa Monica Police Department suggests the following to avoid receiving a citation, or worse yet, injury, or killing someone:
— Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving.
— 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.
— Adjust controls and set your song play list before you set out on the road.
— Stay alert and keep your mind on the task of driving – often after a long day at work or a not so restful night’s sleep, people’s minds can wander when behind the wheel.
— If you find yourself daydreaming – clear your head and focus on the road.