Newport Beach Police Department announced Wednesday that officers issued 351 citations to distracted drivers in April as part of a statewide awareness effort.
Newport Beach joined California Highway Patrol and other local law enforcement agencies in the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign last month, NBPD spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella explained in a press release.
“Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the steering wheel – especially texting and cell phone use, whether hands-free or handheld,” according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Who’s doing it? Most of us.”
Drivers who were texting or operating handheld cell phones were cited, police reported.
“Distracted Driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk,” Manzella wrote. “Many people see this behavior as risky when someone else is doing it, but do not recognize that they’re own driving deteriorates when they are distracted as well.”
Although the statewide campaign has concluded, Newport Beach police will continue to work with the community to provide education and enforcement in an effort to reduce the number of distracted driving incidents in the city, Manzella noted in the statement.
Data shows that at any given moment there are nearly 1.18 million drivers, nearly nine percent of all the drivers on the road, using a mobile device, according to authorities.
The state OTS department and NBPD urges people to never text and drive.
“Don’t call or text anyone when you know they are likely to be driving,” both agencies suggest.
Authorities also recommend drivers turn off their cell phones when they get behind the wheel and avoid additional distractions, like eating, reading, using maps, grooming, and using other electronic devices.
“Pull over or stop your vehicle if you must engage in these activities,” NBPD advises.