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CHP Launches Distracted Driving campaign for New Year's weekend

As part of a crackdown on distracted drivers, the California Highway Patrol is not just looking for people illegally talking or texting on their cellphones.

Officials also will be on the lookout for those who are eating while driving. And if you're reading magazines or applying makeup, they'll also be looking for you.

From 6 a.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday, the CHP is having a “zero tolerance” cellphone enforcement day.

Although there is no law saying someone can't eat while driving, a distracted driver is in violation of the law.

Under California’s vehicle code, a driver can be ticketed $145 to $1,000 for having “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Officers will also be tracking these distractions and the number of distracted drivers, because there are not very good data on just how many distracted drivers there are.

Tickets for cellphone violations are $20 for the first offense and $50 for the second. But with court costs and other fees, the total cost of a ticket is more than $100.

Since California’s law requiring hands-free devices took effect in 2008, the CHP has written 518,161 citations statewide. They have written 11,634 tickets for texting while driving.