Drivers, put away the phones.
Starting today, Elk Grove Police officers will be patrolling the streets for drivers who are talking on their cell phones or texting as part of a regional effort to curb distracted driving.
“It’s just a proactive effort to make sure motorists understand that the law is there for their safety,” Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Christopher Trim said. “It’s part of an on-going project with various other law enforcement agencies in Sacramento County.”
Distracted driving includes any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from operating a vehicle, but usually involves talking on the phone or texting, according to Trim.
Several states, including California, have laws that prohibit texting while driving.
Earlier this year, an 18-year-old Utah State University student was killed when the car she was driving hit a truck just moments after she updated her Facebook status. Now, her parents are pushing to make driving while texting illegal in their home state of Idaho.
Nationwide, 5,474 people were killed in 2009 and roughly 448,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted driving, according to the National Transportation Safety Administration.
In Sacramento County, the fine for a first time texting or hand-held cell phone violation is $166.00.