Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will be cracking down this month on those who text and drive or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device.
Highly visible enforcement teams will cite the violators on Thursday, April 8, 17 and 22, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.
The department is joining 200 others in a “zero-tolerance” campaign as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“The increased enforcement aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior,” says a news release.
“We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously,” said Deputy Shane Stewart of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Bureau. “We see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone’s life?”
Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to the sheriff’s department.
In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver, says the news release. According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.
"Even a three second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field," according to OCSD.