Texting

The amount of tickets officers wrote for texting and talking while driving dropped in Glendale this year. (Photo illustration by Roger Wilson / September 18, 2012)

Glendale police are attributing a decline in the number of citations issued for texting and talking while driving to increased public awareness.

Officers wrote 2,182 tickets for the first eight months this year, down from the 3,236 issued last year, according to the Glendale Police Department.

More motorists are aware of laws restricting cell phone use, and as a result, the number of citations issued has dropped, Traffic Bureau Lt. Steve Robertson said. At the same time, his department has stepped up public education, he added.

“It's not worth it,” Robertson said of using a cell phone while driving.

Police have partnered with AT&T to encourage motorists to make a lifelong pledge on Wednesday to stop texting while driving. Police will be also keeping an eye out for violators as part of their regular patrol efforts.

“This is about saving lives,” AT&T regional spokesman Rich Roche said.

The pledge, he said, is aimed at addressing road-safety problems, which continue to plague Glendale.

Roche said he, his wife and 18- and 22-year-old daughters have already taken the pledge.

Drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 have reported more cell phone use at the time of collision or near collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also send more emails and text messages while driving.

Despite certain laws restricting cell phone use while driving, motorists have continued to answer incoming calls while behind the wheel.

In 2010, 80-year-old Glendale resident Misak Ranjbar was killed by a 21-year-old Tujunga motorist who was texting while driving, police officials said.

The driver, Ani Voskanian, was headed west on California Avenue about 6:37 p.m. Sept. 15 when she allegedly failed to yield at the four-way stop at Columbus Avenue and hit Ranjbar while he was in a crosswalk, police said.

Voskanian stopped shortly after the collision to remain at the scene.

The following year, Voskanian pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge and was ordered to serve three years of formal probation, 300 hours of community service and to develop a lecture program for junior and high school students on the dangers of texting while driving, officials said. Her license was also revoked for three years, officials said.

To make a pledge to never text and drive, visit www.itcanwait.com, or #itcanwait at Twitter and Facebook. For more information on distracted driving, visit www.d2dglendale.org.

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.