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Police will seek drivers illegally on cell phones
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Are you one of those who ignores the law and texts or press the cell phone against your ear while driving? You'd better watch it today. Ceres police as well as area law enforcement officers will be cracking down today on illegal cell phone use while driving. It's part of a one-day zero tolerance campaign in Stanislaus County against drivers violating California's "hands-free" law.

Enforcement of the law is ongoing but today's crackdown will take place all day.

"Because we've seen first-hand the severe injury and death that often results from talking on a cellular phone or texting while driving, we will be showing zero tolerance for anyone not using a hands free device," said Captain Lenley Duncan, commander of the CHP Modesto office. "Unless you want to risk a ticket - or worse, your life - remember to use a hands free device and do not text while driving."

Studies indicate that cell phone use is the leading identifiable cause of inattentive driver collisions in California. In 2007, there were 1,091 collisions caused by drivers using hand-held cell phones. Those collisions injured 447 people.

Besides Ceres police, the CHP noted that other agencies involved include Hughson, Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Newman, Patterson and Riverbank police departments and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.

Today's campaign is also occurring in the CHP's Valley Division and Golden Gate Division.

California put into effect a hands-free cell phone law on July 1, 2008. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.

The law exempts police and drivers of emergency response vehicles as well as those using their phone to report emergencies.