Cops crack down on texting, talking drivers

Mountain View part of county-wide enforcement effort during April

The Mountain View Police Department, along with the other law enforcement officers in Santa Clara County, are cracking down on drivers who text or talk on the phone in the month of April.

For two days, April 4 and 5, officers will work overtime specifically to watch out for motorists with their hands on their phones and not on the wheel, Mountain View Police Community Relations Manager Liz Wylie said in an e-mail.

In August of last year, when police agencies conducted a similiar two-day, zero tolerance campaign, the Mountain View department wrote more citations than any other department in the Bay Area. Mountain View police cited 261 people for driving while on their cell phone and 29 for texting. The next largest number of citations per city was 85 cell phone violations in San Jose and seven texting violations in East Palo Alto.

Mountain View enthusiastically participates in the campaign, because as Wylie says, "prior campaigns and educational outreach regarding hands-free laws have not had the desired impact and many drivers still regularly ignore the laws.

The first violation of the laws costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets will cost $279, according to the California Highway Patrol.

"We take the issue of distracted driving very seriously," CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Teresa Becher said in a statement. "Is that text message or cell phone call really worth $159?"

Studies show that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, with young, inexperienced drivers most at-risk to die in a distraction-related crash.

Studies have also found that texting while driving can delay a driver's reaction time just as much as having the blood alcohol content of a legally drunken driver.

Bay City News contributed to this story


Like this comment
Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm

The Eye is a registered user.

I say raise the fines to about twice what they are now. Studies have shown that the only thing that deters any sort of crime is not a passive ad campaign (in this case regarding the very real dangers of distracted driving), but in the penalty being sufficiently severe enough to prevent the crime from occurring.

If these scofflaws have the ability to afford their monthly phone rates threatened, it may likely result in a reduction of this offense, except for the hard-core texters/talkers. Thank you, MVPD, for doing this, but more often would be even better, when resources allow.

Like this comment
Posted by MVFlyer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:24 am

I agree with The Eye--raise the fine! Why not make it the same as other moving violations such as red light running? It's nearly as dangerous, if studies stating the similarity to drunk driving are to be believed.

And kudos to MVPD for the crackdown--I'd imagine it's like shooting fish in a barrel. More frequent crackdowns would be nice, too--let's send the message that using non-hands free electronics isn't tolerated in our city!

Like this comment
Posted by fred
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 5, 2011 at 5:41 am

Police are over stepping their authority.. making people rummage through there stuff to prove they didn't use their cell phone. Its an obivous money making tactic for a over spent police dept.

You don't have the revunue so fleece some citizens.. utterly stupid.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2011 at 6:47 am

I agree. And furthermore, if you are caught driving without a license and/or registration and/or insurance your car should be impounded, you should pay heavy fines, and your car should be kept until can prove you have all those documents.

And if you hire a smuggler to engage in human trafficking you should also be arrested and fined.

Now go out and get all those law breakers MVPD! (or at least the ones that look like they have nice news cars, are on their way to or from employment, and look to be the "right type" to pull over who you know will pay the fine.)

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 5, 2011 at 9:22 am

This is excellent! I agree with those who say we should raise the fine.

Good work, MVPD!

Like this comment
Posted by TrollToll
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

¡Que chiste, Observer! Has tomado una articulo que tiene nunca a hacer con inmigrantes ilegal y transformado lo en un loco punto que solamente prueba que tienes mucho miedo de la gente marrón.

Que chiste... y triste.

Like this comment
Posted by BD
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:17 am

Trolls comments translated......
That joke, Observer! Have you taken a paper that has never done with illegal immigrants and transformed it into a crazy point only proves that you really scared of brown people. That joke ... and sad.
Please speak English as you are in America...

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

What's utterly stupid is using a hand-held device while driving. It's against the law. Pretty simple, really.

If you have to place or take a call while driving, pull over and do so. But not in the bike lane or in a turn lane. There are other motorists and cyclists out there besides you believe it or not.

Good job MVPD, but you should do this every day.

Like this comment
Posted by Al
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Very much agree with posters above, arrest, deport....and shoot them on their way out.

and to our PD:

Please use turn signals

Please turn on siren when running red lights. My 2 year old and I can't out run your crown vic.

Oh, and please be carefull while on the phone. I understand that officers have been trained not to be distracted which is unhuman but whatever; pay attention!

When I say please, I mean pretty please since all I can do is begg while the rest of us are at your mercy.

You know who you are; Karma sometimes takes her sweet time but it comes back around every time.

Like this comment
Posted by Jimbo
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I agree, raise the fines, confiscate the phones (oh how inconvenient) then once a month crush the phones, and give back to the owner so they can environmentally dispose of them. Double the fines for any individual claiming how smart their kids are via a bumper sticker and if you have a baby on board sign displayed, then triple the fine.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm


"What a joke, Observer. You've taken an article that has nothing to do with illegal immigrants and turned it into a crazy point that only proves you greatly fear brown people. What a joke and sad."

Translated by Observer, who speaks Spanish and is dark-skinned. My response had nothing to do with illegal immigrants, only the uniform application of the law by MVPD. The real, truly sad racist is the joke Troll, Troll who fixates on the color of peoples' skin over more substantive issues and claims to reasoning.

Like this comment
Posted by dave
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The law is the law. Now maybe they can stop ignoring the red light runners!

Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Like this comment
Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Two days is a crackdown? Hands will be right back at it as normal afterwards.

Like this comment
Posted by Entertained
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm

This is awesome. Finally rich, white folks get to complain about be being profiled.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Rather than 'cracking down' on just two specific infractions (which may or may not be creating a hazard at that moment), why not prioritize more dangerous activities instead? Perhaps the MVPD is unaware of all the red lights being run throughout our fine city. They could set up a nice little profit center at Grant and El Camino, and actually make the streets safer at the same time.

Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Thanks for several thoughtful comments. But how pure and predictable are the knee-jerk ignorant objections! Legal facts, safety facts, logic, and the value of a couple of days of PR/highly visible enforcement are ignored wholesale while hot buttons are so immediately pressable. Add on your made-up information and sad race and class issues and you have no value here, and no audience except your fellow know-nothings.

Like this comment
Posted by DrivingOnly
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Confiscate the phones! Brilliant!!! In Connecticut, the police use to take illegal radar detectors right off the dash and smash them on the ground. Bit of a waste but it made quite an impression.

Oh how I would love to have seen that lady hand over her bejeweled iPhone4 that was glued to her ear while she swayed in and out of the right lane on 101.... Or that man relinquish his Blackberry that he was reading when he nearly ended my life. Take the toys away! The kids aren't playing nicely with them.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

The CA law is misinformed, and so is the public. It's not the hand-held that makes you 4 x as likely to get into an accident, it is having a solo conversation that does it.

If the danger was with the hand held phone, then why don't cops pull over people also drinking coffee, or putting on lipstick, or holding a map? I work in this industry, and have read definitive studies that show that when you are having a solo conversation - bluetooth or not - hand held or not - it is the conversation that causes the danger. When you talk with someone on the phone - your mind goes elsewhere - i.e. off the road ahead of you.

Talking while driving needs to be illegal, not hand held devices. It is so much safer for someone to pick up a phone and answer it, then spend the time and attention to activate a hands-free device (e.g. plug in an iPhone headphones, put in ear).

Texting however, is straight up bad / horrific. No tolerance there. You are moving your eyes away from the road most of the time, and having a psuedo-conversation as well.

We are so apt to punish people - we are so full of anger and hatred. Combine that with ignorance, and we get responses like we have had in relation to this article. People don't need to be punished more. People need to be informed - especially those who make the laws that don't actually address the real problem, in a response to public hysteria.

I have a blue-tooth system in my car that automatically turns on with the car & refuse to text while driving. But I know that it is the conversation that kills, not the device, so I limit conversations in the car as much as possible. Are the angry responders willing to do that? Probably not. It is so much easier to fantasize about punishing people than it is to actually do & promote what is truly safer - because that would not be convenient / easy, and that would mean basing my actions on actual facts. Imagine that!

Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Steve, this has less to do with a desire to "punish" than it has to do with severe fiscal mismanagement on the part of our so-called "elected leadership" and the need to continually add revenue streams, not to mention the very clear and present danger that the morons who persist in using these devices while driving present. People have been having conversations in cars since the days of the Tin Lizzie. A kid on a cell phone nearly killed me in traffic six years ago. There wasn't even a skid mark where he smashed into my car with his F-250 pickup.

Raise the penalties to match DUI. All studies indicate that it is every bit as bad.

Like this comment
Posted by Jimbo
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Yes, Crush the cell phones on the spot.

Burnish a Scarlet "M" on the car so innocent people can be defensive.

Like this comment
Posted by duhjimbo
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Yes, crush the phones!!
Now why would we want to burn a scarlet M into the car? that would be vandalism duh! Thats a stupid suggestion dumbo jimbo

Like this comment
Posted by Adeel
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Heed not the type of despicable men (Mountain View Police Department),- ready with oaths,
Detracter, spreader abroad of slanders,
Hinderer of the good, transgressor, malefactor
Greedy therewithal, intrusive.
Because they possess wealth and (numerous) sons.
When to them are rehearsed Our Signs, "Tales of the ancients", they cries!
Alas for them! In truth they are outrageous.
The Mountain View Police are indeed the guilty ones!

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