Nearly 6,000 distracted drivers ticketed in California's Bay Area

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April was declared National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and in response, law enforcement officials throughout the state of California launched increased enforcement campaigns designed to emphasize the state’s law banning all forms of communication using a handheld electronic device, including both text and voice communications, while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle on public roadways. One such focused enforcement effort conducted in the San Francisco Bay area resulted in citations issued to nearly 6,000 residents by the California Highway Patrol, according to a statement issued by the law enforcement agency. More than 5,900 tickets were issued to distracted drivers by California Highway Patrol officers along with officers from various local law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area within the month of April. In one memorable incident, a driver received a ticket for blocking a lane of traffic while texting, impeding the progress of an emergency response vehicle heading to the scene of a serious traffic accident. The motorist in this incident is reported to have been completely unaware that an emergency vehicle, lights flashing and siren blaring, was approaching his vehicle from behind. The increased enforcement initiative was part of the California Highway Patrol’s “It’s Not Worth It” public safety awareness campaign designed to encourage motorists to wait until they arrive at their destinations to take out their cellphones. Throughout the state of California, nearly 30,000 citations were issued for violations of the state’s laws against distracted driving practices.