Police crackdown on distracted drivers on Peninsula

A police program is being enforced today to crackdown on distracted driving on the Peninsula.
March 4, 2014 11:35:46 AM PST
Ten motorcycle officers from Hillsborough, Burlingame and San Mateo are out on the streets of Burlingame today to crackdown on drivers who are distracted by their mobile devices.

"They know it is illegal but it's a matter of convenience, sometimes they just don't want to bother with the Bluetooth or they feel that the text or email that they need to read is more important," said Burlingame Police Sgt. Jay Kiely.

Cops say the danger is that at 35 miles-per-hour your car can travel hundreds of feet while you look away to text or check e-mails for just a few seconds. "You have no idea what is in front of you, and you could hit anyone, any other car, injure others as well as yourself," said Kiely.

These safety checks are not new; what is new is a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case from Fresno that gives drivers some wiggle room.

"Looking at your cellphone for purposes of reading your GPS isn't illegal. That being said, that case was in congested traffic and I don't know if the gentleman was stopped and not moving and reading it, or if he was moving, but certainly we discourage any kind of distracted driving," said Kiely.

Cops will be here all day and they could write more than 100 very expensive citations.

"For the first time violators it is $161 plus court fees that could bring it above $200," said Kiely.

For a second offense add $100 and you are talking the neighborhood $300. The officers will be repeating the crackdown in a couple weeks in San Mateo County.

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