General Crime

80 Drivers Cited for Distracted Driving in Petaluma

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Petaluma police cited 80 motorists for distracted driving on Wednesday. Police Sgt. Ken Savano said officers issued 100 citations total that day, 80 of which were for driving while using a cellphone. The others were for speeding, running red lights and stop signs, child safety seat violations and bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road, Savano said.

One driver drove through a stop sign while he was looking at a GPS navigation application on his cellphone in plain view of a motorcycle officer monitoring the intersection, Savano said. April is distracted driving awareness month statewide, but Savano said Petaluma police enforce all driving laws throughout the year.

The fine for a first distracted-driving offense is $159, and subsequent tickets cost at least $279, Savano said. Fines vary depending on the county. In April 2012, 57,000 tickets were issued in California to drivers who were texting and talking on cellphones without a hands-free device, Savano said. Petaluma police made 146 traffic stops on Wednesday, and will target distracted drivers again in another crackdown on April 16, Savano said.

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