Almanac

News - April 13, 2011

Distracted driving crackdown nets 55

Fifty-five drivers passing through Menlo Park on April 4 and 5 have been officially encouraged to think twice about using a handheld cell phone while driving, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol.

Officers from the Menlo Park Police Department issued 48 citations for talking on a handheld phone while driving and seven for texting while driving, the CHP said.

Statistics for Atherton were not available. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office issued 22 citations for cell phone use but the number is not broken down by community.

Traffic patrols throughout California are calling April a "zero tolerance" month for distracted driving. The two remaining official crackdown days are April 14 and 28, the CHP said.

Citations will cost drivers a minimum of $159 for the first time and $279 for subsequent violations, police said.

Driving while using a hand-held device quadruples the risk of an accident serious enough to injure someone, police said, adding that studies have shown that this behavior has as severe an effect on reaction time as drunken driving.

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