Californians issued 60,000 distracted driving tickets in April

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More than 60,000 citations were issued to California motorists during the state’s Distracted Driving Awareness public safety campaign, which took place throughout the month of April. Of these distracted driving tickets, approximately 57,000 of the citations were issued for violations of the state’s ban on handheld cellphone use while driving. The increased enforcement of distracted driving related traffic violations was the result of a cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels, more than 250 in total. In 2011, California law enforcement offices issued more than 168,000 citations for distracted behavior while behind the wheel. The state’s Office of Traffic Safety issued a statement declaring an increase in the number of distracted driving citations, up from the 52,000 citations issued for inattentive driving in April of 2011, at least partially due to the increasing propensity for using a handheld communication device while driving prevalent among teenage drivers.  According to survey study results cited by the California Office of Traffic Safety, an estimated 18 percent of drivers between the ages f 16 and 25 years old use their cellphones while operating a moving motor vehicle. Internet enabled smart phones are also more prevalent, now comprising more than 50 percent of the cellphones in America, increasing the number of electronic distractions available to drivers. Using a handheld communication device for any non emergency reason without the use of a hands free device such as a Bluetooth transmitter, has been illegal in the state of California since 2008.