Zero tolerance on handheld cell phones begins

7:57 AM, Feb 8, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Highway Patrol began its zero tolerance campaign on handheld cell phone use by drivers on Tuesday.

"We'll be everywhere," said Officer Adrian Quintero. "This is as dangerous as drunk driving and as important as wearing a seatbelt."

The zero tolerance period will last from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

CHP's Valley Division said they are still seeing a high number of people either talking on their cell phones without a hands-free device or texting while driving despite the 2008 and 2009 laws that specifically ban both.

Another law also bans anyone under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving, even if they have a hands-free device.

Officers will be watching for people driving erratically or swerving on the roads.

"One of the most common mistakes is made by people thinking it's good enough to use their speaker phone while still holding the phone in their hand.  Even my son can point them out on the road!"  Quintero said.

Cell phone fines start at a minimum of $20 for the first offense and can go up from there. When you factor in court fees, citations will cost drivers at least $100.

CHP's traffic record system shows more than 329,000 cell phone violation citations have been issued since the law took effect. More than 5,100 tickets have been handed out for texting while driving.


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