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Chino Hills, Calif. – Despite the risks of phone use while driving, many California drivers continue to violate California’s hands-free cell phone law.

In support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement campaign, Chino Hills Police/Sheriff’s reminds drivers to put down the phone when you drive.

From Oct. 8 between 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Chino Hills Police/Sheriff’s will join other law enforcement agencies across the country with increased patrols that focus on drivers who break California’s hands-free cell phone law.

Distracted driving is dangerous, especially when it involves cell phones or other electronics that take your eyes off the road.

“People may think they can use their phone and drive at the same time safely, but it is far from safe and also illegal,” Chino Hills Police/Sheriff’s, Deputy Sokly Chau said.  “If you are on your phone, you are putting yourself and others on the road at risk.”

Last year, the CHP issued nearly 20,000 tickets during the month of April alone to drivers who were on their cell phone.

According to an online survey conducted this year by the OTS, University of California, Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), and Ewald and Wasserman Research Consultants, 75.1% of surveyed drivers listed “Distracted Driving because of TEXTING” as their biggest safety concern.

“We want drivers to change bad behaviors like distracted driving,” Deputy Chau said. “When there are no distractions, our roads are much safer.”

Distracted driving laws have been in effect since 2008. Under the 2017 hands-free cell phone law, drivers are not allowed to hold a phone or other electronic device while behind the wheel. First-time offenders face a $157 fine.

If you need to make a call or text someone, pull over and park at a safe location. Drivers are encouraged to silence their phones before starting the car, or placing the phone somewhere you can’t reach it, such as the glove box or trunk.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.