The Long Beach Police Department will have extra motorcycle officers on the road this month to look for distracted or speeding drivers.

Police said they’re ramping up the enforcement as part of April’s designation as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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“Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a crucial reminder that even a moment of inattention or a quick glance at the phone can lead to serious consequences,” LBPD Lt. Jose Flores said in a statement. “Let’s get off our apps and keep our eyes on the road. Before starting the car, silence your phone or put it in the glove box, trunk or back seat. Anywhere you can’t reach.”

It’s illegal in California to hold your phone while driving, even while at a red light, according to the LBPD. Anyone caught talking, texting, using an app or doing anything else that requires them to hold their phone could face a fine, and a second offense within the next three years would add a point to the driver’s record.

Long Beach police emphasized the dire risk posed by the seemingly simple action of picking up your phone while driving. They said at least 140 people across the state were killed in crashes caused by distracted driving in 2021.

An LBPD spokesperson said the extra motorcycle officers will be deployed through the end of April.

Funds for the operation are provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.