ON THE BEAT: Santa Monica police officers conduct a pedestrian sting operation. (File photo)

Drivers better put their phones down when behind the wheel.

Throughout the month of April the Santa Monica Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Section will focus on drivers who are talking or texting on cell phones.

Every month traffic officers focus on different driving behaviors that are the primary causes of traffic collisions.

A driver of any age caught holding a cell phone in their hand while using the speaker phone, or who are seen with the phone up to their ear, will be cited.

Juveniles are not allowed to use cell phones at all while driving, with or without and ear piece, police said.

This includes texting, composing e-mails or instant messaging.

Scrolling for a name or phone number in a cell phone, or entering a phone number does not constitute texting.

The Santa Monica Police Department asks everyone to drive responsibly, watch the road and avoid being distracted by pulling to the side of the road before using any handheld device.

For more information, contact the Traffic Enforcement Unit at (310) 458-8950.

The California law on handheld cellphones went into effect in 2008. It was one of the first in the nation. The ban on texting followed in 2009, police said.


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