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52,664 Citations Issued in April to Drivers Who Couldn't Tear the Phone Out of Their Hands

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Photo by melissssaf via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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If you're reading this on your cellphone and you happen to be driving, well, clearly the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) did not get their message out to you last month during the nation's first and most ambitious statewide campaign against distracted driving. However, 52,664 motorists were busted in April for using their phone without the aid of a handsfree device to talk, or to text, while behind the wheel.The month-long campaign included two weekend ticket blitzes. For the first weekend, which was April 4-5, over 2,187 tickets were issued to Los Angeles County drivers for distracted driving infractions. A second blitz weekend was held April 19-20. A combined 103 CHP offices and more than 280 local law enforcement agencies, including the LAPD, participated in the effort to push the message that drivers' eyes should be on the road, not their phone, makeup, notebooks, or snack.

The campaign is being hailed as successful; the OTS says "preliminary statistics from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicate the number of fatal collisions is down 7 percent when comparing April 2010 to April 2011."

While in the past couple of years cellphone use has been the focal point of distracted driving concerns, there are a number of things that can get you pulled over and a citation, like reading or even drinking coffee.