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BPD will be looking for drivers on their phones during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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Doug Shupe, AAA Public Affairs Representative, points out a vehicle that was involved in a distracted driver crash at a joint news conference with local law enforcement in 2018.

The Bakersfield Police Department is taking April — Distracted Driving Awareness Month — as an opportunity to remind drivers to put down their phones and focus on the road. Increased patrols will be enforcing California’s hands-free cell phone law this month in Bakersfield and throughout the state.

Distracted driving enforcement will be out from April 7 through April 29 looking for drivers breaking the 2017 law, according to a news release from the BPD. Drivers are barred from holding a phone or similar electronic device while behind the wheel. First-time offenders face a $157 fine.

Funding for the increased patrols comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

BPD reminds drivers that if they need to make a phone call or send a text, pull over to the side of the road and park in a safe location. If it's too tempting to text while driving, BPD says to silence your phone or put it in your trunk or glove box.