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MPD issues 108 tickets yearly for using phones
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Manteca Police have seen it all.

• Motorists driving while applying make-up.

• Drivers reading a newspaper as they travel down the freeway at 60 mph.

• Dogs riding on the laps of drivers.

That is in addition to run-of-the-mill driving while using  cell phones and driving while texting.

Officers have issued 96 citations for driving with a cell phone and 12 for driving while texting in the 12-month period ending May 11.

And stepped up enforcement of distracted driving may see those numbers rise.

That’s because distracted driving — more specifically texting while driving —surpassed drinking as the leading cause of teen deaths in 2013.

A study of crash statistics by Cohen Children’s Medical Center showed more than 3,000 teens die each year due to crashes caused by texting while driving. That’s roughly eight deaths every day or one teen dying every three hours. In 2013, about 2,700 teens were killed in drunken driving accidents. The same study indicated about half of all teens admitted to texting while driving.

“You cannot hold a cell phone in your hand under any circumstances  while driving,” Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said.

Of the 1,650 citations issued  by Manteca Police during the 12-month period, there were 503 for speeding making it the No. 1 driving infraction.

The second highest was 149 for dogs without a license or vaccination. Third at 126 tickets was for expired registration, fourth at 122 tickets was operating a vehicle without  a driver’s license, and fifth at 96 was driving while using a cell phone. Rounding out the top 10 infractions that tickets were issued for was 90 for driving with a revoked or suspended license, 70 for not having proof of insurance, 58 for seat belt violations involving passengers, 48 for seat belt violations involving a driver and 37 for failure to come to a stop when required to do so by law.

Obligacion noted ticket writing for moving violations is to protect the public through education and not to raise money as many falsely believe.

Manteca receives only $90,000 from the tickets they issue each year or 15 percent of what a violator ultimately pays the court. The rest  goes to the state or are charges for court expenses.

That $90,000 does not even cover the salary and benefits of one police officer.