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Seat belt crackdown catches cell phone users
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Carl Ambrose of Manteca pulled up next to two parked Manteca motorcycle officers Friday morning after getting a seat belt ticket on Thursday. “He got me yesterday,” he quipped as he displayed a felt pen note to himself written on the center of his steering wheel. It simply stated, “Seat Belt.” It’s a reminder, he said, to pull the belt over his lap and shoulder. - photo by GLENN KAHL
A “click-it-or-ticket” effort by Manteca Police motor officers Friday had motorists being pulled over for not wearing their seat belts – catching others talking as well as texting on their cell phones.

Many drivers appeared almost oblivious to the law with officers citing one after another near the intersection of Union Road and Yosemite Avenue.

Officer Patrick Danipour said he and his partner David Bright were seeing violations “left and right” as they were working the state Office of Traffic Safety grant.

“The ones who are most irritated are the ones who are working – going from one job site to another.  That’s when it’s the most dangerous,” he said.

Tickets for not wearing a seat belt run more than $100. The state gets the revenue not the City of Manteca as many drivers reportedly believe – thinking the effort is only used to put revenue into the city coffers.

The ticket produced revenue does filter back into Manteca, however ,through added road maintenance and more Office of Traffic Safety grants that will come back to the city in the future.

Early on officer Danipour noticed a woman driver without her belt and followed her to the 1100 block of Virginia Avenue where he pulled her over to find she also had a suspended license.  

She received a citation and her car was impounded that will bring additional fees to get it out of the tow yard after her paper work is completed.

Motorcycle officer David Bright said he wrote some 30 tickets for the OTS campaign one morning mid-week when the temperature reached 108 degrees.  He noted the challenge of riding a heat-seeking black motorcycle with an equally hot uniform.

“It has been proven that writing tickets reduces crashes and injuries,” Bright said.

Officers found another motorist driving a Chevy Astrovan that drove into the parking lot of a coffee shop on Union.  The van had been purchased a year ago and the driver said the former owner had been uncooperative in transferring ownership.

Police said they had no choice but to impound the vehicle that it will be stored until the woman gets her DMV paper work in order.

Officer Danipour said he likes to work traffic, because it is one part of police work where the motor officers especially can see the results of their actions right away.
“It’s like the man who put the note to himself on the steering wheel reminding him to put his belt on when he starts his car,” he said.

Danipour wrote a total of 56 tickets from the time he started at 9:30 Friday morning to about 7 p.m. in the evening – when he finally got his lunch break.

Thirty-six of those tickets were for seat belt violations and the remainder were for other vehicle code offenses.  “That’s my record, “he said.  “My feet are really hurting.”

Danipour was scheduled to hold a briefing before leading the scheduled DUI check point that was being set up in the 100 block of South Main Street.