During the entire month of April, law enforcement agencies throughout California will be on the lookout for inattentive "zombie" motorists who text or talk on a hand-held cellphone while driving.
The California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Traffic Safety and agencies throughout the Southland will crack down on talkers and texters with a "zero tolerance" operation, citing drivers who break the law and pose a danger to themselves or others.
A first time citation will cost a minimum of $159, with a second violation at least $279.
"Turn off your phone and put it out of reach as you get into the car," said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "Think before you call or text someone. If there is a chance they might be driving, let it wait. It's not worth it."
Statistics show that drivers who use hand-held devices are four time more likely to get into a crash that is serious enough to injure themselves. In addition, younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of fatal distraction-related crashes.
More than 225 local agencies, along with the CHP, are expected to conduct zero tolerance enforcement in April which is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This coincides with California Teen Safe Driving Week, which is the first week of April.
—City News Service contributed to this report.