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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

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4/9/2014 5:59:00 AM
Local police join law enforcement agencies in distracted driving crackdown
Special to the Times

BLYTHE, Calif. - As part of April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, the Blythe Police Department joins over 200 other local law enforcement agencies including the California Highway Patrol in a month-long "zero tolerance" enforcement and education campaign to curb those texting or operating hand-held cell phones while driving.

Officers will be on alert throughout the month for those who break the cell phone laws and place themselves and others in danger. Special high visibility enforcement operations to cite cell phone violators will take place during the month of April.

The increased enforcement and education aims to persuade drivers to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this perilous behavior. The "It's Not Worth It!" theme emphasizes that a phone call or text isn't worth a hefty fine or a collision. The current minimum ticket cost is $161, with subsequent tickets costing at least $281.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," said Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith. "Because we see the aftermath of these totally preventable crashes. Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $161, or worse, someone's life?"

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver's reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver. According to research, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.

Even a three-second glance at freeway speeds means a driver has traveled the distance of a football field.

Research shows that there is no difference in the risks between hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations, both of which can result in "inattention blindness" which occurs when the brain isn't seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers' focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road. When over one third of your brain's functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone "zombie."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: @El Pica Buyas

No, I believe the writer was saying the officers in the 'old' days would radio information to the dispatcher and they would relay the information to the party via phone. Yes, the officers do talk to dispatchers via their phones, I'm sure and they talk to citizens, but it should not be while driving. I, myself have seen deputies on the phone while driving, but not highway patrol. They probably take their jobs more seriously and set a great example as officers.

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Do you people think that these officers are talking to dispatch?????? Then I got ocean front property in Arizona for sale. Guess what? (deleted)

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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: Asking for Trouble

I've come across the Chief quite a few times on hobson talking on his phone as well as a few other P.D officers. Maybe they should have their pictures taken while on the phone and posted on neighborhood watch. Have your passenger take the picture. I always see an ex Mayor in his jeep on the phone also. But never have I spotted a Sheriff or Highway Patrol on their phone .

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014
Article comment by: I Agree with Jason

Agree. They should not be on the phone. They have radios and they were good enough in the old days to relay info via dispatcher, it should be now. Park and talk and make it official. And the crackdown on distracted drivers should be 24/7, not just the rest of April. Can we call a number when we see a violator?

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Article comment by: Jason Robinson

the blythe police give tickets for driving and talking on cell phones yet I see them on there cell phones driving daily sounds like a one way street!!!!!! the LAW don't go by there own LAW !!!!

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