Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park police to participate in weeklong crackdown on distracted driving

Certain officers will spend a portion of their normal shift specifically looking for people using their phones while on the road, according to police.|

Sonoma County law enforcement agencies will place greater focus this week on enforcing distracted-driving laws, which prohibit actions such as texting behind the wheel and not using hands-free devices.

Agencies such as the Santa Rosa Police Department and the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety are partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a campaign against distracted driving, according to a news release from Santa Rosa police.

During the weeklong effort, which began Monday, Santa Rosa police officers on motorcycles will focus on finding and citing people for using their phones while driving during a certain period of their normal shift, Santa Rosa police Sgt. John Medeiros said.

Most patrol officers will not change their daily routines.

While it is already illegal in California for a driver to use a cell phone or similar electronic communication devices while holding it in their hand and for any motorist under 18 to use a phone for any reason, officers will use less discretion regarding who they pull over for related offenses until next Monday, Medeiros said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 32,400 people died in crashes involving distracted driving from 2011 to 2020. In 2020, 3,142 deaths were reported, which was an increase of 23 from the previous year, according to the release.

Some recommendations for curbing the habit of using of a phone while driving include using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on the road, not scrolling on social media while driving and asking a passenger to be a designated texter and have them respond to messages, according to the release.

You can reach Staff Writer Madison Smalstig at On Twitter @madi.smals.

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