Hundreds ticketed in second cell phone driving crackdown - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hundreds ticketed in second cell phone driving crackdown

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Some 456 people were cited during a one-day countywide crackdown on motorists illegally using cell phones, the California Highway Patrol reported Friday.

The violations carry a base fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second, but court fees and taxes typically boost costs to more than $100 per ticket, according to the CHP.

Tuesday's "zero tolerance" compliance campaign, the second of its kind to take place in the San Diego area in two weeks, was an effort to reduce the number of distracted drivers engaging in phone calls or texting behind the wheel.

Nearly all of the tickets handed out by various police agencies -- 438 -- were for talking on a cell phone without using hands-free equipment. The other 18 citations were for texting or reading electronic devices while operating a vehicle.

"Holding a phone while talking and driving is clearly a safety concern for the public," said CHP Officer Mary Bailey. "You need both hands on the wheel for maximum safety. We strongly encourage all Californians to utilize an earpiece or other device in order to talk hands-free if it is necessary to use your cell phone while driving."

During a similar crackdown in mid-November, 535 motorists were cited for driving while holding phones to their ears and 19 for texting or reading behind the wheel.

It's been illegal in California for drivers to hold cell phones since July 2008, although the law is often flaunted.

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