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Police step up distracted driving enforcement
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Manteca Police motorcycle officers Mitchell Elliott and John Machado were seen using laser and radar devices on West Louise Avenue Tuesday afternoon watching traffic for speeders and distracted drivers. - photo by GLENN KAHL

In an effort to reduce the number of distracted drivers and speeding on Manteca streets, motorcycle traffic officers are stepping up enforcement to keep serious accidents to a minimum. 

Officers John Machado and Mitch Elliott set up shop at Phillips Drive and Louise Avenue using laser and radar devices to meter ongoing traffic flows. Machado said Tuesday that writing citations for speed or for distracted driving causes motorists to either like you or not like you so much. 

Motor Sergeant Paul Carmona stressed that using an electronic device while driving is a serious safety problem. He added that most drivers know that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but many still use their cell phones and other mobile devices when they are behind the wheel, putting themselves and others at risk. He added that in any given daylight moment nationwide, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones while behind the wheel. The Manteca Police Department is focusing on ways to change the behavior of drivers through enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have worked to curb drunken driving.

While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In addition, most drivers aren’t aware that just talking on a cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, can lead to “inattention blindness” as critical brain functions needed for driving are used for cell phone talking as well, he noted.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information about distracted driving visit