The department issues at least 56 citations for cell phone use and 18 for speeding during eight-hour exercise 

Those who texted while driving or cruised above the speed limit during the workday Thursday, July 21 in Lake Oswego may have paid the price.

In collaboration with other Clackamas County law enforcement agencies, the Lake Oswego Police Department conducted an enforcement and education exercise from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, where they focused on catching distracted drivers, speeding and other violations near school zones or other areas of concern.

Based on incomplete data — one of the 12 participating officers had not filed their information yet — officers handed out 56 citations for cell phone use while driving, 18 speeding violations and 35 other tickets, which were mostly for stop-sign or red-light violations. They conducted at least 128 traffic stops.

"It's to promote traffic safety and reduce crashes and injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes. The type of violations primarily cited for during this evaluation were things that were all very much primary causes of crashes (resulting in) injury and death," said Tom Harper, a sergeant for the Lake Oswego department.

Harper also noted that repeat offenders of distracted driving violations can face criminal charges and that fine amounts for speeding depend on the severity of the violation.

"When driving the focus needs to be on driving and having a cell phone is a wonderful tool but if they're not using Bluetooth devices properly, it can cause tremendous distraction and result in someone being seriously injured or killed," Harper said.

Agencies from Oregon City, Happy Valley, Milwaukie and Clackamas County Sheriff's Office helped out with the exercise.

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