Police Cracking Down on Texting While Driving in Pasadena

Pasadena had a distracted-driving death as early as two months ago, police said

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    Starting Monday, Pasadena Police are cracking down on people who text or talk on cell phones while driving. NBC4's Reggie Kumar reports on "Today in LA." This clip is from "Today in LA." on August 19, 2013. (Published Monday, Aug. 19, 2013)

    Pasadena police will be out in force Monday hoping to discourage texting while driving  - and that will come in the form of a $162 ticket for first-time offenders.

    Pasadena had a distracted-driving death as early as two months ago, police said.

    The city hopes the crack down, along with electronic billboards placed next to the 210 Freeway warning against distracted driving, will get motorists to change their habits.

    More than 3,000 distracted drivers were killed in the U.S. in 2011, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

    In California, 300 to 500 distracted drivers were killedin 2012.

    Last April, more than 57,000 citations were issued statewide for using a cellphone while driving.

    The first violation could cost motorists $162 and each violation after that will be $285.

    Statistics show drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident while using a cellphone behind the wheel.

    Thirty-four percent of teens admit to texting while driving, and 77 percent of them believe they can safely drive and text at the same time.

    It may be learned behavior. Nearly half of teens said they have been in the car with a parent who was on the phone.

    German cinema legend Werner Herzog is also helping the fight against distracted driving with a 35-minute documentary entitled, "From One Second to the Next."

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