Texting Drivers: CHP is Looking for You This Month

If you're tempted to text while you drive, be warned: the California Highway Patrol and local police agencies will be making an extra effort this month to catch you in the act.

In observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, law enforcement officers will conduct "zero tolerance" enforcement efforts across California on April 5 and April 13.

"You may have gotten away with it hundreds of times," CHP officer Chris Baldonado said, "but all it takes is one glance away from the road at the wrong moment to cause a deadly accident."

A NBC4 I-Team report last summer found that drivers are routinely ignoring state laws prohibiting texting and other hands-on phone use, and that experts blame the low penalties for scofflaw behavior behind the wheel.

"It can wait," said Baldonado. "No text is worth your life, or someone else's life."

Texting or taking on a handheld phone while driving has been illegal in California since 2017.

Last year, it became illegal for California drivers to hold their cellphones in their hands for any reason. Preliminary data from the CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicates nearly 22,000 drivers were involved in distracted driving collisions in California in 2017.

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