LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles police plan to join a statewide “zero tolerance” enforcement crackdown on drivers texting or using their cell phones without hands-free technology, officers said Sunday.

California’s first “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” kicks off at 6 a.m. Monday, Los Angeles police Lt. Ron Katona of the department’s Traffic Coordination Section said.

“We take the issue of distracted driving very, very seriously,” Katona said. “The ongoing, irresponsible practice of drivers using their cell phones and texting has to stop. The practice is such a serious concern that the LAPD embraces the zero tolerance strategy and fully supports the Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”

“Is a text message or cell phone call really worth risking injury or death?” he asked.

Officials said studies reveal that drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to be involved in serious traffic crashes that result in injuries. Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

“We recognize that convincing drivers to refrain from using cell phones or texting while driving isn’t easy,” Christopher J. Murphy, director of the state’s Office of Traffic Safety, said. “It’s very difficult to resist the urge to check an incoming text or answer a cell phone call. That’s why we are stepping up enforcement and public awareness efforts.”

Studies also reveal that texting while driving delays a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a drunken driver.

“Convincing California drivers to wear seatbelts 20 years ago wasn’t easy either, but in 2010 more than 96 percent buckled up and thousands of lives were saved,” Murphy said.

“Think about the vast majority of calls and texts you send or receive every day,” he said. “Were any really worth a crash, injury or death? It’s just not worth it.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (33)
  1. drozone69 says:

    We are all criminals when it comes to more ways to detract money from us.They are not happy knowing we must answer the phone in order to pay the taxes.They already got our taxes .Now they want tickets!!Thank you big brother and the NWO.

    1. Katerina says:

      This is about saving lives, not money. It’s just that the loss of money is often the only motivator for some people, more so than the possibility of losing a life. I don’t want a distracted driver anywhere near me on the road. I’ve witnessed many close calls due to someone texting. So I’m all for it. Only the guilty will resist.

    2. richie says:

      Buy a hands free device, the time for excuses is over man up.

    3. almost says:

      wow, if i had a head injury i might agree with you….

  2. Unpleasant says:

    We were severely injuried as the other driver using cellphone rearended us over a year ago and we did not appreciate it. Please do not use cellphones while driving!!!! Thank you

  3. Dave says:

    Unless of course you are an illegal mexican with no license. Then they will just quietly tell you to move along, and wait for a legal resident that will actually be able to pay the fine.

    1. Pedro says:

      I totally agree with you man!

  4. disgusted says:

    If this is all about raising revenue, I’m all for it. I don’t use my phone while driving, because it is against the law. If you insist on breaking the law, then you run the risk of being fined. When you break our laws, you run the risk of being punished…..unless you’re an illegal with no insurance or driver’s license. Then you get free food, and $297 a month for every anchor baby you can push out!

    1. OLD SCHOOL says:

      So, So true. The only people who have a problem with this are poor drivers, and should be on the bus. As I said ticket them & take away their cars.

  5. Nicolas Cruz says:

    Yes Yes!! Now walking threw a crosswalk on a cell phone!!! next!!! Find the stupid people!!! Make more revenue to pay for there accidents they cause!! Reduce Police and Fire resources on these incidents!!! Fireman!!!!!

    1. Joe says:

      Your stupid

  6. spiritndamachine says:

    Don’t forget all those that read the paper while DRIVING a car, or women that apply their makeup while controlling a 4500 pound projectile that that has enough potential energy to crush another vehicle or pedestrian upon impact. But most of all, all those Peace Officers that are in a Position of Trust, defined by PC 830.1 and 830.2 that are except from the law and are not prohibited from using such communication devices while operating and police vehicle…whats up with that? Just like is says on the front of the US Supreme Court…Equal Justice Under the Law. Maybe we should arrest the officer under Title 18 sec 242 for breaking the law under the color of authority and violating you civil rights…the right to free speech?

    1. Capital Cee says:

      The law dont have to abide by the law, you have a valid point. Police are exempt but they too cause accidents while on duty but can cover it up…

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time they enforce a law that has been on the books for over a year now.

  8. Sarcastic says:

    Oh it’s not in effect yet?

  9. OLD SCHOOL says:

    L.A.P.D. Stop playing with these people. Treat them just like DUI’s. Don’t take them to jail. Give Them a ticket and IMPOUND THEIR CARS .That will get their attention. Also make them complete a traffic awareness course to get the car back. ZERO TOLERANCE FOR LAW BREAKERS.

    1. richie says:

      Please, the imigrants rights groups will complain again and lapd will cave in again just like they did on dui check points.

  10. Joe says:

    Really, is talking on the phone as serious as a DUI. Get Real! Accidents happen with or without a cell phone. I have seem more than my share of COPS breaking this same LAW. They dont take it serious, why should we..

    1. OLD SCHOOL says:

      Accidents Happen with or without drinking. People still get hurt. Don’t want your car taken? Stay off the phone, it’s that simple. The police are the police. They can run red lights talk on the phone all they want in the cause of public safety. Ignore the law If you dare.

  11. joie says:


  12. FOX NEWS says:

    i wonder why the cops has not taken the many hit & run seriously that happen every week and many by illegal mexicans.

  13. Juan Covarrubias says:

    People texting ,brushing they teeth,doing make up,shaving their face or head,correcting kids,is everyday the same on freeways people does not care about that come to Glendale, Burbank,young and old are same just check,drinking coffee,smoking,and texting or answering the phone put in risk lives and nobody does something just complain what police does check rush hours on morning time you will see this or more thanks

  14. William Fitzpatrick says:

    Dont be fooled, Any paramilitay organization has to justify its existance. The government doesnt care if you live or die as long as you are a source of revenue. If they did something about all of the illegals driving with no liscences or insurance then maybe they would have my respect.Why do you think they do DUI checkpoints or hang out in the shadows of nightclubs. Its all about the money baby. Thats all they want is your money. My car was stolen and my local police treated me like I stole it. then the impound yard somehow didnt bother to give me a call untill almost a week went past. So i got fined for having my car stolen. They really dont care about us it is our income they want..

  15. socalmal says:

    Bad drivers are bad drivers, doesn’t matter what they’re doing. I have had a mobile phone since 1988, never had an accident, only 2 speeding tickets. I can do just about anything while driving my stick shift. Too much government control and not the school driver’s training with simulators that I had are contributing to the idiot drivers on the roads.

  16. Alan Hart says:

    More utter non-sense from government. Have any of you ever seen the dashboard of a police car? Multiple radios, cell phones, computers, lights …All major distractions but then they are the ones giving tickets, not getting them. Next time you get one of these Nanny tickets, I suggest you take a photo of the officers dashboard and use it as a defense.

    1. Onclewillie says:

      Like so many that fail to obey the law, they look for someone to blame or try to shift the blame. Come on people, the law is quite clear. You violate the law and get caught don’t whine about the cop with the toys in the car. Grow up and accept the blame. Better yet, don’t use the cell phone, text or turn up that radio so loud that you can’t hear the siren behind you.

  17. Joe says:

    OLD SCHOOL. The POLICE are not above the LAW. It applies to everyone driving. They are no different that you or me. THEY ARE HUMAN AND THEY MAKE MISTAKES, just like the rest of us. Plenty of News on that every other day.

    Dont be a TOOL.

  18. Tony says:

    Drozone has it right. It’s all about the money.

  19. Mike says:

    Catch me, catch, catch me if you think you can. I will be texting and riving tomorrow on 101 freeway, good luck catching me.

  20. Britt says:

    What about the GPS on my cell phone? Can I not use that while I’m stopped at a stop light??

    Try and control me more, California. I don’t speed, I don’t drink and drive, I don’t even tailgate people. But you know, heaven forbid I touch my cell phone to make sure I’m going the right direction. :/

  21. Tom says:

    I agree that people get distracted on the phone while driving but its ok for the police to do it? the other day a sherrif almost hit me pulling out of a parking lot and he had the nerves to turn on his sirens and tell me over his intercom to look out and becareful?????? go figure, its always ok for them.

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