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Murrieta Police Ticket Drivers for Using Cellphones

The local crackdown held Wednesday was part of the “It’s Not Worth It!” enforcement, being conducted statewide as part of April's month-long Distracted Driving Awareness campaign.

Murrieta police handed out 21 tickets Wednesday to drivers who were allegedly caught texting or operating hand-held cellular devices.

The local crackdown was part of the “It’s Not Worth It!” enforcement, being conducted statewide as part of April's month-long Distracted Driving Awareness campaign.

Last April, more than 57,000 tickets were written statewide for texting and hand-held cell use. There were nearly 450,000 convictions in 2012.

The current minimum ticket cost for the offense if $159, with subsequent tickets costing at least $279.

Murrieta police are scheduled to conduct the day-long enforcement again on Tuesday, April 16, according to a news release.

Murrieta officers join others from more than 200 other local law enforcement agencies plus the CHP this month in conducting these zero tolerance enforcements.

Last April, more than 57,000 tickets were written statewide for driving while texting or using their hand-held cellular devices, Gruwell pointed out; during 2012, nearly 450,000 were convicted of the offense.

"Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk," Murrieta police traffic Sgt. Jim Gruwell stated. "In recent years, hundreds have been killed and thousands seriously injured in California as a result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted."

Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, Gruwell stated.

The greatest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes is found among drivers who are younger than 20, studies show.

"In addition, studies show that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as having a blood alcohol content of a legally drunk driver," Gruwell stated.

There is also reportedly little difference in the risks resulting from hands-free and hand-held cell phone conversations; both can result in “inattention blindness” which occurs when the brain isn’t seeing what is clearly visible because the drivers’ focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road, studies show.

"When over one third of your brain’s functioning that should be on your driving moves over to cell phone talking, you can become a cell phone 'zombie,'" Gruwell stated.

Murrieta police encouraged to turn off their phones and/or put them out of reach while driving, include in their voicemail message that they can not answer while driving, and not to call or text anyone else whom they think might be driving.

"This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cellphone use while driving," Gruwell stated. "We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road."

Once tabulated, Murrieta police plan to report the final number of tickets that were issued locally during the awareness campaign.

An additional 22 drivers were cited Wednesday in Murrieta for other alleged infractions as a result of the stepped-up enforcement, according to Gruwell.

Ed P. April 05, 2013 at 03:18 AM
IF this really happened, why don't you name the cop?
AlwaysPO'd April 05, 2013 at 03:37 AM
What an imagination. You know it never happened.
Mr. Logical April 05, 2013 at 03:39 AM
My least favorite, sitting behind someone at a light, the light turns green and the genius in front is busy texting and not paying attention to the light. I need to get one of those ship horns put in my car to get their attention.
livinsloher April 05, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Philip Rivers come on now....like he would jeopardize his job just to give you a cell phone ticket... I don't know if you are paranoid schizophrenic? do you feel everyone is out to get you? hear voices? are they watching you? some good advice next time be sure to go check yourself in a mental ward and get some help or either come up with a better story then that? ever heard of dumbest criminals? has your picture I bet!
LBV Collins April 05, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Humph... What about the other times?
LBV Collins April 05, 2013 at 01:00 PM
I'm glad to see our PD cracking down on cell phone usage by drivers. I've witnessed a couple of incidences where a driver just cruises through a red light without a care in the world, completely unaware what they just did. In a previous Patch article on this same topic, some people complained this is just another example of us turning into a nanny state. I can only reply by pointing out that when we have people driving drunk, or its equivalent: talking/texting while driving, we are forced to protect ourselves from those who lack the maturity to comprehend the danger they put themselves in, as well as the public at large. Kudos to our officers for ticketing violators.
BRUNO TRAVANTI April 05, 2013 at 01:48 PM
This "Philip Rivers" is no different from the immature QB for the SD Chargers, they are both delusional and tend to blame others for their mistakes and judgement errors. I wish they both would accept their blunders like a man and not whining cry-baby. Hell, wouldn't be a bit surprised if our "cry me a Rivers" is, in fact, the SD QB...LOL
Paul April 05, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Philip Rivers did not say this happened in Murrieta. Maybe he made it up, and maybe it was true. We do know that in some jurisdictions some police actually do things like this and worse. Recently in New York multiple narcotics agents are on trial for slipping drug packets into the pockets of innocent persons in bars, then arresting them for drug posession. They claimed it was so they could meet their arrest quotas. This was covered in mainstream media.
Philip rivers April 05, 2013 at 03:06 PM
That was a joke. But yeah I have seen cops on there phone . I've seen them with slurpies as well. Just put the phone on speaker and put it on your visor
Don Lambert April 05, 2013 at 03:09 PM
I do not use a phone in the car, and I agree that overall it is likely studies would show that the negative impacts and increased dangers of driving while talking on the phone is more dangerous than many other distractions. I am sure that it is true that most persons will be concentrating on the conversation. I suggest that some or many drivers are ALSO imaging in their minds the SCENES that are the subject of the conversation. And some or many drivers are ALSO imaging in their brain the facial expressions of the other person while that other person is talking. But even more distracting to the driver is the likelyhood of ALSO imaging in his/her mind the facial expressions the other person is having in response to each comment made by the driver. These brain processess would clearly distract from the driver's awareness and alertness to the driving function and the ability to anticipate and react to even normal trafic events like stop signs, red lights, pedestrians, bike riders, children running into the street. as well possible emergencies. Well after I wrote all this it may be part of what officer Gruwell includes with his comment: "...because the driver's focus is on the phone conversation and not on the road..." Oh well, I will submit this anyway, hoping this expansion will help some others better understand the problem.
dick weed April 05, 2013 at 03:17 PM
im glad to see the donut eaters earning there pay for a change !!! and yes way to many are on cell phones while driving, just be at a stop light at the frwy exit and count how many are on phones coming off the frwy at hot springs and the 15 its crazy how many have there phones to there ear or in there hand ?
SA April 05, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Mr. Rivers, it can’t be entrapment when you are knowing breaking the law, and I highly doubt a cell phone was planted on you. However, I do not agree with this campaign i.e. pulling over distracted drivers, as I was pulled over for peeling a Cutie. The Officer did not cite me and informed me that they are not happy for having to do this. I truly believe this campaign is just revenue generating, ordered by the infamous Gov. Clown Brown, only a Democrat would order a campaign like such.
rick April 05, 2013 at 03:34 PM
I have no problem with law enforcement officers enforcing the cell phone law, when I constantly see Murrieta Police Officers, Riverside County Deputy Sheriffs and CHP Officers talking on their cell phones or texting while driving a patrol, and possibly breaking the law themselves. I know that law enforcement officers are exempt from the law of using a cell while on duty for law enforcement business only. The issue I have is that the majority of these officers are on their personal cell phone conducting personal business or texting while on duty. All marked patrol vehicles are equipped with radios and computer equipment to communicate with their dispatcher or agency. There are some agencies that issue cell phones to their officers to conduct law enforcement business only, but the majority of law enforcement agency cannot afforded to issue cell phones and/or pay cell bills for each and every officer. The cell phone law should apply equally to all that drive, with the exception of law enforcement officers using cell phone for law enforcement business only.
kristin c April 05, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Michelle, cops and truck drivers are allowed to use phones when driving. At Phillip, I believe you. Cops think they are above the law... my brother was arrested when he got into an argument with his wife at the wine festival as he'd been drinking so it was a drunk in public (at a wine festival, go figure) . They loaded him in the back of a van and he tried to make small talk... he told the cop riding in back with him that he's really a nice guy and the cop slugged him in the face with his first. These vigilante types need to go work in los Angeles if they're looking for more of a challenge. Its sad they abuse their authority like they do.
kristin c April 05, 2013 at 07:21 PM
SA, only a democrat would make a no cell phone law to begin with. I agree with not texting and driving but talking on a cell and driving isn't hard. Its like listening to the radio... but since obama just signed this last executive order that implements a presidential voting committee(9 people chosen by obummer himself), the democrats now control the vote. I'm afraid, like smog, liberals are here to stay. Sad the only way they can infect this nation is to do illegally
kevin April 05, 2013 at 07:34 PM
There is an exemption for anyone operating an emergency vehicle in the law. This includes fire, EMS and police vehicles.
LBV Collins April 05, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Good grief, Kristin... What's with the Obama-bashing?
SA April 05, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Yep that is exactly what he is doing. Not really, you are just another low information voter.
all-c-ing-eye April 05, 2013 at 08:41 PM
The cell phone bit was a stretch you admit, but on drug busts all of a sudden a nickel bag is found in the back seat or trunk, thats happened all to often and everywhere. I think Murrieta police are a bit above that and they deserve some respect as this is a safe place to be due to their professionalism.
LiLi April 05, 2013 at 08:56 PM
The problem with talking & texting while driving is that people actually forget they are driving. They forget to stop at red lights, they forget to go at green lights, they weave in & out of lanes & cause accidents that injure or kill innocent people who are actually just driving or riding in their cars. If people had any consideration for others on the road they would make driving their top priority while in their cars & there would be no need for a law or enforcement of a law that restricts phone use. Sadly, the content of these texts & conversations, made public after a death usually isn't of an urgent nature, so why take the risk of injuring or killing another person. The majority of people in our country have become so self-centered & entitled. We all need to remember to put others first & ourselves last. Just for the record, before anyone calls me a hypocrite, I don't own or use a cell phone & I get along just fine. It's a personal choice.
Westcoastliberal April 05, 2013 at 11:53 PM
I don't see a story here yet, but the PE has news that a judge has overturned the will of the people against the Murrieta red-light cameras. Seems the judiciary thinks they know better than we do.
Mr. Logical April 06, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Just keep doing what Rush tells you to do. You don't have to think for yourself, just keep thinking what he tells you to think and you will be fine. Blame everything wrong in your life on Obama. If that helps you sleep at night.
Mr. Logical April 06, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Had another knucklehead texter that had to slam on the brakes to avoid running into the back of our car today. And of course, when the light turned green, there they were sitting at the intersection, texting.
Sherry April 06, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Cell phones...it's TEXTING... at least the cell phone users are looking at the road. All tech devices need to be stripped of the ablitiy to text..... get rid of texting. The end.
Don Lambert April 06, 2013 at 01:51 PM
This is a little off cellphones, I just discovered this article about police in the city I lived in for a lot of years until moving here. Maybe it has some ideas for here. Mountain View is between Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. They have 97 sworn officers. Excerpts are from this web site. http://californiapolicechiefs.org/news/mountain-view-police-departments-social-media-strategy-20-in-the-heart-of-silicon-valley Posted 03/25/2013 "The Mountain View Police Department serves a community of 75,000+ residents with a population that doubles in the daytime as commuters travel from all over the Bay Area to work at various high tech companies like Google, LinkedIn, Symantec, VeriSign, Microsoft, and a host of startups." "Previously, MVPD relied on a traditional model where social media was an extension of the Press Information Officer’s office and the main content sent through our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages were press releases and occasional community announcements. In this model, information was being pushed to the public and there was minimal two-way engagement with the community. In the fall of 2012, MVPD changed its social media strategy to focus on providing rich, photo centric content for the community and to effectively engage our community in two-way dialogue. What resulted was a dramatic increase in followers across all social media channels and an outpouring of support and appreciation from the community. The data and metrics are very compelling..."
Don Lambert April 06, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Here are a couple of more excerpts from the same article. They probably have one or more persons working full time on this activity. We probably could not afford this now. Actually Mountain View probably does not have a budget problem with all these companies located there, http://californiapolicechiefs.org/news/mountain-view-police-departments-social-media-strategy-20-in-the-heart-of-silicon-valley “Without question, social media is a vital component to the law enforcement mission. In the same way that community policing positively changed the relationship between police and the community decades ago, social media has provided our profession with a unique opportunity and medium to connect, engage, and communicate with the people we serve“ “The Mountain View Police Department has 97 sworn officers. It has an active social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Nixle, and Foursquare. “About the author: Lieutenant Chris Hsiung is the social media manager in charge of strategy, community engagement and growth through the police department social media channels. He created the department technology cadre which is tasked with researching and instituting best practices for law enforcement technology within the department. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Behavior Science & Sociology from San Jose State University and a master’s degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. Twitter: @chMtnViewPD
Carl Petersen III April 23, 2013 at 08:26 PM
kristin c 12:52 pm on Friday, April 5, 2013 "only a democrat would make a no cell phone law to begin with." . . Want to guess again? The law has been in effect since 2009. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/
Cuz I Care May 14, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Entrapment is when your insurance rates go up and it wasn't your fault !
Cuz I Care May 14, 2013 at 01:50 AM
LOL,,, my brother had one of those air horns in his Javlin,,, we had so much fun w that thing !
Cuz I Care May 14, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Kuddos Philip rivers to admit on the joke,,, it did make for some conversation.

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