Las Cruces – Las Cruces Police issued 122 citations during Friday's traffic enforcement operation that utilized officers spotting violations while posing as a city street crew.
Violations witnessed by the undercover officers - who were wearing maintenance uniforms and working near a utility truck - were radioed to fellow LCPD officers who conducted the traffic stops down the road.
Of the 122 citations, 74 were issued to drivers who were using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Officers also issued 18 citations for operating a motor vehicle without mandatory insurance and 13 tickets for no seatbelt. The other 17 citations issued were for various offenses such as no driver's license, window tint violation, no registration and speeding.
Officers also issued three criminal citations for possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia. A criminal citation is an arrest that does not require the immediate detention of a suspect.
Friday afternoon's traffic operation was conducted on Lohman Avenue between I-25 and Walnut Street. Similar traffic enforcement operations will be held in the near future.
The city's cell phone ordinance went into effect Feb. 5, 2010. The penalty for violating the ordinance is $92. That includes a $56 fine plus the $36 mandatory court fee.
The ordinance prohibits cell phone use while driving within city limits. The ban includes engaging in a phone call or creating, sending and reading text messages or e-mail while operating a motor vehicle. Looking-up or dialing a phone number while driving is not considered lawful or safe.
Engaging in a conversation on a cell phone is permitted within city limits if the driver is utilizing a hands-free device and its use does not interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle.