42 ‘Distracted Drivers' Ticketed in La Mesa

La Mesa police officers wrote 42 tickets Friday morning to distracted drivers who were either talking on their cell phones or texting while driving.

The operation spanned a six-hour period in the East County community and was part of the “Traffic Safety Enforcement Program” designed to aggressively enforce the state’s “Distracted Driving” laws.

The program aims to raise awareness for safer, distraction-free driving while reducing deaths and injuries on local roadways.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, the base fine for the first texting while driving offense is $20, and $50 for subsequent convictions. With penalty assessments, the DMV says the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.

The DMV website says driving distractions – including cell phone use – are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes.

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 80 percent of crashes involve some sort of driver distraction.

On Saturday, Chula Vista police conducted their own Distracted Driving Operation from 3 p.m. to 7p.m. Officers ticketed a total of 35 drivers in the area, 29 of whom were talking on their cell phones while driving and six who were texting behind the wheel.

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