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By Thomas J. Sullivan–
More than three times as many tickets for phone-related distracted driving were issued by the Citrus Heights Police Department during the month of April in comparison to last year’s average.
As part of April’s “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” Citrus Heights police reported issuing 287 phone-related tickets to adult drivers during the month of April, an average of about 10 per day, according to Lt. David Gutierrez. He said an additional four tickets were issued to drivers under the age of 18.
By comparison, in 2018, Citrus Heights police issued 1,180 citations to drivers for texting, calling or otherwise using their phone — an average of about three citations per day.
Police say distracted driving is a serious threat to safety on the roadway, with preliminary data from 2017 showing 66 people were killed and over 6,500 were injured from distracted-driving related crashes in California.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District also reported that six lives were lost from hitting power poles in 2018, due to instances of distracted driving.
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the California Highway Patrol and Impact Teen Drivers worked together throughout the month of April to educate drivers on the importance of traveling free of distractions, as well as cracking down on drivers who violate the state’s hands-free cell phone law.
A 2018 observational study by the OTS on driver cell phone use found that approximately 4.5 percent of drivers were seen using a cell phone, a nearly 27 percent increase from 2017, but down from 2016, when 7.6 percent of drivers were observed using a cell phone.
Distracted driving laws have been on the books since 2008. Authorities remind drivers that under the 2017 hands-free cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device while driving a motor vehicle.
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