SUISUN CITY — Text or talk on a cellphone while driving and get a ticket beginning Friday in Suisun City.
The Police Department has teamed up with law enforcement agencies from across the greater Sacramento region to eliminate drivers talking and texting while behind the wheel. Vacaville police are also taking part in the enforcement effort.
Talk won’t be cheap. Fines start at $159 for a first-time offender. The second offense is a $279 penalty.
The effort is part of a federally funded pilot program that will test tactics that may be employed nationally in the future.
The goal of the special enforcement is not to issue tickets, according to the press release, but to raise awareness of distracted driving. California law bans the use of hand-held devices and texting while driving.
According to the press release, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported almost 500,000 handheld cellphone convictions in 2011, up from 361,000 in 2010. In 2010, 3,092 people were killed and an estimated 416,000 others were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
The program runs through Dec. 9. For details, visit www.distraction.gov/sacramentoregion.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.