Are Valley motorists getting the message?

FRESNO, Calif.

Driving is a complex task requiring a driver's full attention.

Sgt. Owen said, "Your negotiating traffic, there's things that come up."

If you take your eyes off the road for just a few seconds - it can have disastrous consequences. Which is why law enforcement officers say more needs to be done to curb cell phone related collisions.

Sgt. Owen said, "If you're using that cell phone up to the ear - that's one less hand on the wheel and you're concentrating on the conversation you're having and not on operating the car."

But a surprising number of drivers are still ignoring the law. When it first took effect three years ago, around 48 thousand cell phone citations were issued by the CHP in just the first six months.

Then texting became illegal - driving that number up to 135 thousand within the first year. That number continued to climb in 2010 to 146 thousand citations. And we're on pace to climb even higher in 2011, with 76 thousand violations through the first six months of the year. Officers say the numbers are too high.

CHP Officer Matt Radke said, "People still feel the need to talk on the phone while driving - a lot of people use their cars as their office."

We did an investigation of our own riding along with a Fresno Police officer patrolling Blackstone Avenue. Within 15 minutes, we saw two drivers with their phones to their ears. One of them admitting to us he broke the law.

Mark Marin said, "I was hoping by trying to be sneaky, slide it down and I was hoping he didn't see it."

Marin was slapped with a ticket, which will cost him around $150 bucks. And told us, he won't do it again.

Marin said, "Hopefully I learned my lesson."

Officers hope that others will follow his lead.

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