Despite sign warning “I’m a cop! You’re about to get a ticket!” 62 “distracted drivers” cited
SAN JACINTO — Last Friday the 13th was a very unlucky day for dozens of drivers who were too distracted by their cell phones to notice a smiling and waving undercover sheriff official on a street corner holding a sign warning that cell phone users were about to receive a ticket.
“I’m a cop!” the sign advised. “If you’re using you cell phone, you(‘re) about to get a ticket!”
In total, San Jacinto PD’s Traffic Unit and patrol deputies stopped 62 of the pre-occupied drivers and issued them citations for driving while distracted. Additionally, one person was arrested for driving under the influence.
Citing countless recent major and fatal collisions involving pedestrians, jaywalkers and distracted drivers, agencies statewide are participating this month in ongoing pedestrian safety and distracted driver education and enforcement programs, and officials say their efforts are already paying off.
In neighboring City of Hemet, two recent operations targeting pedestrians illegally crossing the road, also known as “jaywalking,” yielded nearly 40 citations and the arrest of a wanted felon.
The two safety enforcement operations, one of which involved police officials holding large signs at three different street corners along busy Florida Avenue reminding pedestrians to “use the pedestrian signal.” The signs included large graphics showing the “walk” and “don’t walk” symbols
Last Friday, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s San Jacinto PD’s Traffic Unit worked a “distracted driving operation” throughout the city.
During the operation, a deputy stood on various street corners holding the sign warning drivers to stay off their phones or risk being ticketed. Many motorists smiled and waved back to the deputy and countless were heard thanking the deputy and other officials for their safety enforcment efforts.
Many people who were seen using their cell phones as they drove into the areas targeted during the operation managed to spot the smiling and waving official and many sheepishly laughed and looked from the deputy to their phones once they realized they had been “caught.”
All appeared thankful and appreciative after they passed through the enforcement zone and realized the deputy’s warning had been more than just that – and saw other motorists being stopped and ticketed for doing exactly what they had been spotted doing themselves, just moments earlier.
“Those drivers who were too busy looking down on their phones, reading text messages, looking through Facebook, Instagram or simply distracted by the conversation they were having while holding their phones to their ears while driving, were issued a citation,” San Jacinto PD officials explained in a social media release.
Saying, “Your family and friends are counting on you” to drive safely, officials reminded citizens to “wear your seat belts, put your cell phones down, slow down and do not drink and drive.”
Sheriff’s, CHP and Hemet PD officials say many more pedestrian safety programs and distracted driver operations are planned throughout the entire San Jacinto Valley.
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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.