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LAPD, CA law enforcement announce distracted driving crackdown

March 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the holiday weekend got started, police stopped drivers Friday night at a checkpoint in South Los Angeles - one of their frequent crackdowns on drunk driving.

Starting next week, California law enforcement agencies will also be going after drivers who text or use handheld cellphones while they're behind the wheel.

"The department is going to step up enforcement of distracted driver-related violations for the whole month of April," said LAPD Lt. Ron Katona. "We're going to step up with specific details designed towards that type of enforcement."

The theme of the April campaign is "It's Not Worth It."

Distracted driving has become a nationwide traffic safety issue. According to the California Highway Patrol, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured as a result of collisions involving a distracted driver.

In 2012, the California DMV reported around 450,000 handheld cellphone and texting convictions. Some think strict enforcement of the law is a good idea.

"You can look over left, right, you see it all the time," said Steve Fratten of Las Vegas. "I think it's a good idea to crackdown."

The fine for first-time distracted driving offenders is $159.

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