But the presence of a police officer often deters motorists from texting and presents a challenge in citing offenders, officers said.
When Glendale Police Lt. Carl Povilaitis is not in uniform, he said, he often sees motorists using hand-held cell phones while driving.
But when he is wearing his police uniform, he said, he rarely sees drivers using their cell phones.
“The actual uniform is a challenge,” he said.
Glendale Police have given out a combined 140 tickets for texting and the use of hand-held cell phones while driving since Jan. 1, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
He did not have a breakdown of how many were specifically for texting.
Before the law was enacted, only motorists younger than 17 were forbidden to write, send or read text messages, but the new law affects all drivers.
“It’s common sense,” Povilaitis said. “You shouldn’t be doing that while driving.”
Burbank Police officers have written dozens of tickets to motorists who were driving and using hand-held cell phones, but have not yet written any tickets to drivers for texting, Sgt. Robert Quesada said.
“You basically have to come up on them to catch them,” he said.
But enforcing the texting ban should not be troublesome since the cell phone law has forbidden the use of any hand-held wireless device, Quesada said.
“You can’t have any type of wireless device in your hand,” he said.
If an officer sees a motorist holding a wireless device while driving, Quesada said, the officer can stop the motorist regardless of whether he or she is texting.
“They shouldn’t have anything in their hands,” he said.
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station also hasn’t cited any motorists for texting while driving, Sgt. Mark Slater said.
“It’s just a matter of what [the deputies] see when they are out,” he said.