April is crackdown month for law enforcement officers throughout California, who will be holding "zero tolerance" days for people driving while using hand-held cell phones, either for phone calls or text messages.
"How often do you see drivers texting or talking with hand-held cell phones and wish they would be stopped and cited?" asked Lt. Ray Lunny of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
"Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk, joining speeding and alcohol as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes," he said in a statement by the Sheriff's Office.
Citations will cost drivers a minimum of $159 for the first time and $279 after that, Lt. Lunny said.
Driving while using a hand-held device quadruples the risk of an accident serious enough to injure someone, he said, adding that studies have shown that this behavior has as severe an effect on reaction time as drunken driving.