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SLOPD plans crackdown on distracted drivers

Posted at 7:38 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 22:38:56-04

The San Luis Obispo Police Department is deploying extra traffic enforcement officers on August 17 and August 24 to crack down on distracted drivers.

Police say most drivers know that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but many still use their cell phones and other mobile devices when they are behind the wheel, putting themselves and others at risk. 

Distracted driving can also include putting on makeup, shaving, eating, reaching to pick up something, or anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving.

In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated 424,000 injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver, according to police. 

San Luis Obispo Police Sgt. John Villanti says SLOPD has seen an upward trend in distracted driving, with officers issuing 1,500 cell phone violations in the last three years.

"That second it takes you to look down and look at that screen and somebody stops in front of you, you are going to rear end them and it’s hard to prevent that, and until you’ve actually experienced it, seen it or been involved in it, I don’t think it really hits people in reality to understand the big impact," Sgt. Villanti said.

Police say drivers should use hands-free devices while driving or pull over and stop completely if you need to use your phone.