LA cracks down on distracted driving

We may be in the smartphone era, but according to the government talking or texting on the phone while driving is not necessarily smart itself. Today's world of advanced technology may bring us great conveniences, but when it poses a threat to the well being of people, the convenient factor becomes insignificant. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, serving as a reminder how deadly the consequences can be when driving without the full attention being placed on the road. Law enforcement statewide, including the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), have expressed their support for launching a crackdown on the mass amounts of texting occurring on the roads.

The department believes that texting and driving is not much better than drinking and driving, considering how drivers who use phones while driving are still four times more likely to be in a car accident.

Despite how much individuals may agree with the message being demonstrated, some are still resistant to more police involvement.  "I don't think you accomplish anything by fear or scaring people, " SMC student Yonatan Mallinger stated. Mallinger stressed how important the use of education is and how much more it should be relied on.

According to student and motorist Olga Shields, police enforcement by way of tickets is the correct disciplinary action for being caught texting while driving.  Shields even believes that the rate for charging people should be higher.

"There's not always a way to make people realize the action is bad, sometimes the way is to just make them not want to get the ticket.  Keep charging them, and maybe they'll stop," Shields said.

"We have been enforcing the law against talking on cell phones while driving ever since it came out two years ago. It's being spotlighted now because people keep continuing to just break the law by talking on a cell phone while they're driving," said Officer Aguayo of the LAPD who works with the investigation of accidents.

When asked about the differences of using a Bluetooth, Aguayo expressed that he does feel they are better than breaking the law and handling the phone with your hands. "But when you're driving, you shouldn't be distracted by any other stuff. And that includes having a plug on your ear. It's still distracting you from focusing on your driving 100 percent," Aguayo elaborated as he fully stressed the critical importance to stay away from distracted driving.

Having investigated a lot of accidents, Aguayo has come across many cases of distracted drivers who were caught using their cell phones.

"Sometimes not until you've hurt or killed someone, do you realize the dangers involved when you're breaking the law in this manner," he said.  This unfortunate realization Aguayo has made about some drivers in his field of police work poses a challenge for drivers everywhere, which is to be proactive now and stop driving distracted.