CHP, local police planning Bay Area crackdown today on drivers using cell phones

More than 900 citations issued on last campaign Aug. 10

Bay Area residents who text while driving are in for a wake-up call on Wednesday when authorities plan to crack down on the violators, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The CHP and local police will work together all day, starting at midnight, to pull over people who are sending text messages or talking without a hands-free device, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.

"We want to be optimistic and we hope there are fewer violators than last time, but we can't predict these things," Cross said.

Authorities issued more than 900 citations to violators of the cell phone law during the first part the crackdown on Aug. 10, Cross said.

Drivers may be pulled over for inappropriate use of cell phones at any time, Cross said. This includes talking on a cell phone or sending text messages, but Cross said motorists could be stopped simply for looking at a cell phone while holding it.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

Watch out they come. It appears the first fundraiser event had a great return. They are doing it again...$250.00 per ticket x's 900 = $22K...not bad.

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Posted by jp
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Yes, I'm sure that's the main reason they are doing this - to make 22k.

These tickets are some of the lowest value tickets to give. If they need to make money so badly speed traps are bigger money makers as would be enforcing the commuter lane or red light/stop sign runners. It's illegal to do a 'california roll' through a red light on red or stop sign but it happens at every light/sign everyday. Those tickets are at least twice as expensive.

How about viewing this at face value? It's sending a message to not talk on the phone while driving unless using hands free. I happen to think it's a pretty good idea and I'm glad they're enforcing it.

This is about awareness.

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Posted by Fed Up
a resident of Avila
on Aug 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm

It's about time. Everyday I see these A-Holes driving around town chatting away on their cell phones and not at all focused on their driving. They are endangering everyone in our town so I hope our P-town finest really crack down on these lawbreakers.

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Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Police issuing tickets news? Yawn..

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Posted by maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Aug 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I, for one, am elated to read this article. It's been a long time coming. I mean, seriously, who thinks it's okay to be talking on the phone while driving? Hands free or not, I think, it should be illegal to talk on your phone!! Texting...come on people....are you really that important? I think not.

I am not surprised anymore of responses that this is merely a "fundraiser" by the local police to raise money. That is a disgusting and ignorant response, I'm just saying.

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Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I agree, definitely not a fundraiser scheme.

With that said, how are the police going to prove you were texting? "I was checking the time", "I was dialing for my blue-tooth", etc.

Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Already happened. On First Street by Wayside Park. Had speaker phone open and on dashboard. I was given a ticket because the officer said it was not an approved hands free device. Cost $146.00

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Posted by Law is Ambiguous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm

The new law, Section 12810.3, is ambiguous with regard to what is allowed or not allowed.
"A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving."

The DMV site ( says that Bluetooh and "other" earpieces are allowe as long as they do not cover both ears. Speaker phone can also be used, but only if you do not touch the phone.

Minors and public transit drivers are further restricted to no personal cell phone conversations.

Exceptions are allowed for emergency calls.

A search for words such as dialing or placing or making, provided no information about how to place a call while driving. The DMV web site only stated the following:
This law does not prohibit reading, selecting or entering a phone number, or name in an electronic wireless device for the purpose of making or receiving a phone call. Drivers are strongly urged not to enter a phone number while driving. How you can convince the officer that you were doing this and not texting is never stated.

Like this comment
Posted by Former Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 19, 2010 at 8:41 am

to "Member" I would fight that ticket if you didn't already pay it. As "Law is Ambiguous" states the law is not clear. It might take a few hours from your day but the police should NOT be giving out erroneous tickets when there are much bigger problems going on in the city.

Like this comment
Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

Is there any exclusion for dialing (or looking at an email) while stopped at a light?

Or do you have to swerve over and idle at the curb for a few seconds while dialing and then merge back into traffic when you're done?

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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

I may be the only one but I feel I'm more distracted fiddling with all the wires and earpieces related to my "hands free" device than I ever was before when I could just pick up the phone and hold it to my ear. I don't usually drive with both hands on the wheel anyway.

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Posted by dt
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

I was ticketed yesterday on the crackdown for texting (Though my opinion is the citation was in error). They setup a trap where an officer was siting next the road I assume and calling ahead cars for the 6 or 7 CHP officers to pull out of traffic and issue citations. When I was pulled out of traffic, the officer first indicated that I was talking on my cell phone. When I pointed out that I have a blue tooth device and can prove to him that no phone call was in session, he responded with "We're just gonna go with this." Upon returning to my vehicle after calling in my license and registration information, the citation was for texting. I again, offered to show him my phone to prove that no text messaging had taken place. He was not interested in seeing that either and stated I could take my phone records to court to dispute it.

Best I can figure is when I was glancing down at my MP3 player and selecting a song, the viewing officer thought I was texting. Not that being distracted by making a music selection is without risk, the law specifically states "A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication." Selecting a song on a MP3 device is not a text-based communication.

I personally would prefer to see the CHP crackdown on drivers that are following too close or drivers that are making radical lane changes. While I do see people using their phones while driving, I see more tailgaters. Not to mention the number of law enforcement I see using phones while driving; laughing, making hand gestures, etc. Even if they are "trained" to multi-task, there is no way to ensure they will not make a mistake. I would be interested in seeing of the number of collisions related to cell phone usage, how many of those were in law enforcement.

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Posted by Ptown Res
a resident of Del Prado
on Aug 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I love it when people say it is a trap... first off you should not be using your phone without a hands free device... it is as simple as that...if you see them before they see you then you get away... so that is you getting away with doing something against the law... the police on the other hand have every right to catch you by any means if you are putting other people at risk.

There are no traps just laws...abide by them thats all the cops are enforcing...

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Posted by boohoo
a resident of Dublin
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Suck it up and pay the fine.

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Posted by dt
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Fair enough. Not a trap but a temporary high enforcement zone. Read more closely to my original post. I was NOT using my phone therefore citation of VC 23123.5, in my opinion, should not apply.

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Posted by Reply to dt
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

dt - I hope you do take your phone records to court and fight it. I don't have anything against the police enforcing laws, however, having worked very closely with a police department in another city, know that errors happen and many times they are under pressure to "perform" and it's a pride thing to back down. Chances are, you show the court proof the ticket was in error and you will be let off. Of course you have to decide whether it is worth your vacation day.

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Posted by MeMa
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Remember 10:00 and 2:00. No room for a cell phone there. How simple

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Posted by Reply to MeMa
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

What about manual transmissions? Can't very well 10:00 and 2:00 all the time, especially in commute traffic. Definitely no room for cell phones with manual transmissions either.

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Posted by pharmacy tech
a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Aug 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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Posted by Taxed
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I wonder how much money was spent to run this sweep? Not just the CHP wages but how much will it cost as a whole? Add to CHP wages, the cost for fueling CHP patrol cars, the cost of new ticket books, the cost of additional pollution clean-up because commuters had to sit in traffic longer than usual, the cost of processing the paperwork, the cost of courts having to process the additional infractions and I'm sure the list probably goes on.

It's never really cut and dry when you try to factor in the all the little pieces it takes to run an operation like this. If violations of hands free laws was the leading cause of fatality or injury collisions then perhaps the money would have been well spent but last I heard, the number one cause of fatality and injury collisions was excessive speed. I just hope my tax dollars was spent well.

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Posted by Hank
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I think ANYONE AND EVERYONE who uses their cell phone in ANY way while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle should have the phone confiscated IMMEDIATELY, and heave it held for a minimum of 1 year AND be charged a MINIMUM $1,000 fine. It is beyond dangerous and wholly unnecessary.

Since when did people become so indispensible that they HAD to be conactable 24/7/365? Does no one recall the "old days" when we needed to get to a landline to use the phone?

NO ONE is that important or in THAT much of a hurry to NEED to talk or text while driving. Period.

And, as there is NO reasonable argument or contradiction to one word I have just typed, Jeb, yo umay close this discussion.

Go Giants!

Like this comment
Posted by Sam I Am
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

I love how everyone gets on their soapbox and is quick to complain about people using their phones while driving, stating it is such a cardinal sin but refuse to admit their own guilt of equally dangerous activities while driving. I can just hear the ones reading this saying "I never do anything to endanger others when I drive. I follow ALL of the rules." I say BS. At some point, everyone that drives makes an error in judgement is introduce unacceptable risk to others when they drive. So for those that have a "Go get'em" attitude, watch out. It will eventually come full circle. Then where will you stand when others judge you?

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Posted by jasmine
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm

fine i got a ticket and i will pay for it. but why should i pay $146.00 for a ticket that is suppose to cost $20.00? where is the fairness in that? How is this calculated? from $20.00 to $146.00 that is excessive. someone told me that includes court fees, security fees, etc,, well if i
just write a check for $20.00 for first time offense and not use any court time etc.. why should i pay for services i don't use? can anyone tell me why?

Like this comment
Posted by pay up
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2010 at 12:16 am

Well, you see - it costs quite a bit to run the courts and even though it may not cost them $120 for YOU in particular, especially if you plead guilty and just pay up, they need to pay for the courts somehow and all of the (majority) of people who claim their innocence (whether they are or not is irreverent, it still costs) and tie up the system. This is where your fees go - since you admit guilt by paying the $20, their argument is that they might as well extract an extra $120 penalty from you while at their mercy rather than try to pass it all on to the law-abiding tax payers. Your options are to fight it or not, and you always have the choice to not break the law in the first place, but once you're caught the odds are not on your side.

I know that for every ticket that I've received I've probably gotten lucky and avoided 2 or 3 throughout the years so I can't really complain.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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