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Apr 2012
LAPD, CHP Crack Down on Distracted Driving

You may want to think twice this month before texting while driving, or even eating or putting on makeup.

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The Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol are boosting up enforcement of unfocused drivers as part of the second annual National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

LAPD and CHP forces have been directed to impose a "zero-tolerance" policy toward drivers they consider to be driving unsafely as a result from multitasking while behind the wheel.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said LAPD Lt. Ronald Katona in a news release. "Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159?"

Penalties for first offenses for talking or texting on cell phones is $159, while each subsequent offense will cost a minimum of $279.

But talking or texting isn't the only form of distracted driving that authorities will be keeping an eye out for.

Activities like eating in the car, applying makeup or even something as simple as fiddling with the radio can lead to a fine, according Rick Quintero, CHP public information officer.

"There is no specific citation for distracted driving," Quintero said. "There is a violation that says if you're driving for unsafe speed, they can pull you over."

People driving at an "unsafe" speed or weaving side-to-side due to a distracting activity will be pulled over, Quintero said.

"Recently, more people are distracted with technology," Quintero added. "Driving is multitasking as it is. That in itself takes a lot of work and attention."

People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

More than 225 local agencies across California will participate in the zero tolerance policy throughout April.



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