Pasadena police officers wrote 639 tickets to people who chose to do other things while driving their cars in April, Distracted Driver Month.

“These operations hit especially close to home for the officers who responded to a fatal collision that took place in 2016 that was directly linked to distracted driving,” said Lt. Mark Goodman.

In that incident, a 19-year old man collided with another car while speeding and watching a music video on his cell phone. A 41-year-old mother and her 18-year-old daughter were killed in the crash.

According to Goodman, 363 of the citations were for texting while driving, an additional 89 people were cited for failing to use a hands free device while talking on a phone. According to Goodman, 187 people were cited for unnamed violations.

Drivers are prohibited from having a phone in their hand, and can only use their phone in a hands-free manner. The phones must be mounted on the dashboard, windshield or center console, and can only be touched once with the swipe or tap of a finger to activate or deactivate a function.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), 66 people were killed and more than 6,500 injured in 2017 from distracted driving-related crashes.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution in 2010 to recognize April as Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

Shelley Forney began advocating against distracted drivers after her daughter Erica was killed on Nov. 25, 2008 by a driver looking down at a cell phone while driving. Erica was struck in the head while riding her bike from school. She was less than a half-block from her home.

“Our officers write citations almost daily to people who are texting and driving or failing to use a hands-free device,” Goodman said.  “While we may focus resources specifically on distracted driving during the month of April, rest assured that our ongoing focus on traffic safety, including distracted driving, happens throughout the year. Our goal is to make Pasadena a safer place to drive, walk and bike every day.”

For more on texting and driving, read PW Wheels Columnist Lauren Holland’s work at