The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office will be looking for drivers who are in violation of California’s hands-free cell phone law.

According to the 2022 California Statewide Public Opinion Survey, nearly 72 percent of drivers surveyed said that distracted driving because of texting was their biggest safety concern. In 2021, the California Highway Patrol issued nearly 56,000 citations for distracted driving.

Under current law, drivers are not allowed to hold a phone or electronic communications device while operating a vehicle. This includes talking, texting, or using an app. Using a handheld cell phone while driving is punishable by a fine. Violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record.

“Holding your phone and using it while driving is not only dangerous, but also illegal,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus.