OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Walking down street and even in their cars, it's become common place to see people on their cell phones nearly at all times. But doing that comes at a price.
Seven years ago, California made it illegal for people to send or write text messages while operating a vehicle.
"If you're in control of the vehicle, in the driver's seat on a public roadway you can be cited for driving while texting," says California Highway Patrol Officer Jared Wambaugh.
Although people know it’s against the law, KTVU caught dozens of drivers using their phones while behind the wheel. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and C.H.P. is cracking down.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles sent a tweet reminding motorists:
"While the engines on, keep your devices off."
Easier said than done. We asked one man if he ever texts while driving? He said if he’s driving, he won’t, but if he’s at a stop light, he will. But that's against the law.
KTVU caught one man using his phone while behind the wheel at a red light. If an officer saw him he could get a ticket.
"If you're not outside the travel roadway in marked parking space, you can be found in violation," Wambaugh said.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, talking or texting on the phone is the number one cause of a driver distraction. As many as 3,000 people are killed in crashes nationwide where drivers are distracted.
We asked CHP if it’s ever okay to use your phone while driving. Surprisingly they said yes, but only in extreme cases.
"There are provisions for an emergency and you have to be dialing 911 in that case," said Wambaugh.