Join KMIR and Put it Away
KMIR is launching a new campaign to make the Coachella Valley a better place to live, and it's something all of you can help us with.
We are asking you to take a pledge with us to stop texting and driving.
Let's start with being honest; do you ever text and drive?
"I got to be honest, I have."
"The last time I texted I would say about two months ago."
"Oh yes, I have."
"Honestly, I have done it."
"Uhh, maybe once, yeah, but no more."
Most people told us yes, but Palm Desert resident Greg Garner told us, "No, I've seen too many people get in accidents and I don't want a ticket."
Good reasons to put it away, but it doesn't stop many drivers.
"You do see people doing it quite often, reading or talking on the phone," said Indian Wells resident, Kathy Simmons.
"People are too accustomed with that third hand mentality, when they see someone texting them they would rather respond to that instead of focusing on the road," said La Quinta resident, Courtney Moran.
Officers see it all the time: people on their phones, so absorbed they don't even see the cop car.
"Pull up to these people and I just turn to my left and stare at them, and they're completely oblivious of what's going on, so right when they see the red lights in their rearview mirror then they're like okay, I know why I'm being pulled over," said Deputy Julio Oseguera with Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
Those tickets are costly.
"My family friend just got a ticket for texting and driving, so he didn't take that so well," said Coachella resident, Arely Angulo.
People try to find ways around the hands-free law.
"I text when it's in the stop light and it's red, but not when I'm driving," said Cathedral City resident, Johny Perez.
That won't get you out of a ticket.
"That's also if you're stopped at a red light or a stop sign, if you're on the roadway, a public roadway and you're in control of your vehicle you're not allowed to use your phone in any way," said Officer Michael Radford with California Highway Patrol.
Yes, that includes all apps like maps, Pandora radio, etceteras.
But still, we make excuses.
"You just can't pull over, because you're in a rush to get somewhere you know and you might have work, school," said Desert Hot Springs resident, Lino Gonzalez Valdovinos.
It can be tempting to text and drive, we all have busy schedules and important messages to read, but instead we hope that you put it away with us at KMIR.
"Just put the cell phone in the trunk of your car, or somewhere you can't reach it, so you won't be tempted," said Deputy Oseguera.
So can you do it?
Can you put it away just for a while to protect yourself and others?
"I've seen enough on the roads where people aren't even focused on the roads, they're just focused on their phones and they can't be, we've got to be concerned about everybody," said Garner.
"Especially with all the tragic deaths you hear. Just in a split second, you're texting, all of a sudden you can hit a kid or a car, and it means someone's life," said Palm Desert resident, Deborah Maurer.
There have been many tragic crashes because of texting and driving and lives lost.
Officers hope education helps convince people to put it away.
"Doing interviews like this, there's always ways we're trying to get the word out there that texting and driving is very dangerous," said Officer Radford.
"Things like what you're doing is a reminder to people for not to text and drive because it could mean a life," said Maurer.
This is the positive message we heard:
"Just wait, just wait until you get out of the car and text afterwards," said Gonzalez Valdovinos.
"If I get a text message I'll just ignore it, it can wait five minutes," said Angulo.
These people are joining KMIR to put it away.
We hope you'll also take the pledge!