SFPD cracks down on distracted driving in Taraval District, 27 drivers cited

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco police cracked down on distracted drivers in the Taraval District Wednesday morning, saying the illegal practice was running rampant along 19th Avenue, a busy corridor in the district.

The enforcement action involved five motorcycle officers in a three hour period. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

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Officer Gian Tozzini's admonitions were polite but stern.

"Hi, how's it going? You had your phone in your hands, sir," Officer Tozzini told a driver. "You knew it was against the law and you still chose to be on the phone?"

At a morning briefing Sgt. John Bragagnolo on shared stats on distracted driving, "(You are) twenty-three times more likely to swerve, sideswipe or even crash while you're texting while driving."

Texting, looking at GPS, talking on the phone-- if it's not hands-free-- it's illegal. The reactions from those who got caught during the crackdown ranged from anger to contrition.

"It's not like I was speeding. Someone called. I looked up and that was it," said one driver.

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"I was on the phone. Shouldn't have been doing it and I got a ticket for it," said another one.

And the excuses were all over the map!

"There was an accident and I'm trying to get to the Airport," said a traveler who was going to SFO.

"He was checking to see if his phone was working from his phone to the stereo," Officer Tozzini said referring to a driver who had his cell phone in his hand as he crossed lanes.

"He said he was doing nothing wrong even though he told me it was in his hand checking the time," Tozzini added.

Excuses or not Officer Tozzini's message was the same for those using their phones.

"I'm going to issue this citation for using a cell phone while driving, ok?"

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Bottom line, and we quote one of the drivers who was cited.

"He's the badge and I have to suffer."

The three-hour enforcement operation netted 27 citations.
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