CHP, local police target distracted drivers

CHP and local police officers at Dodger Stadium Oct. 14, 2010, sign the exterior of a trailer that encourages people to pledge not to text while driving.
CHP and local police officers at Dodger Stadium Oct. 14, 2010, sign the exterior of a trailer that encourages people to pledge not to text while driving. Brian Watt/KPCC

If you chat on the cell phone in the car without using a hands-free device, better watch out. Law enforcement officials are cracking down on distracted drivers — including hand-held cell phone users. They gave reporters an update on their crackdown in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium today.

The California Highway Patrol is on a mission to reduce distracted driving. About ten days ago, CHP and local police officers made an extra effort to target the practice in Los Angeles County.

CHP Southern Division chief Steve Beeuwseart said they cited more than 700 motorists in a period of 12 hours.

"During that day, we stopped a driver, driving a two-axle truck pulling a trailer. We stopped him and cited him for using his cell phone," said Beeuwseart. "Within 10 minutes, another CHP officer pulled him over again — different location in L.A. County — and cited him again."

Another motorist police stopped that day mentioned that it was his fourth citation for using a cell phone within just a few months.

A law banning texting while driving took effect in California in July of 2009 Since then, according to numbers from the Automobile Club, the practice has nearly doubled.

CHP plans another day of targeting distracted drivers in L.A. County October 26.

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