Eyes on the road. Hands on the wheel. April is “distracted driving awareness” month, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is cracking down.
THP is partnering with other local law enforcement agencies for the 3rd annual distracted driving bus tour.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is using passenger vans this year. Officers riding inside the unmarked THP vehicles will let other law enforcement officers patrolling the roadways know when they spot a distracted driver. That distracted driver will be pulled over, and most likely fined.
Sgt. Chris Richardson with the THP said, “Distracted driving is an epidemic in this nation, and it’s showing no signs of letting up.”
It’s all hands-on deck for local law enforcement during this mission to make sure drivers’ hands are on the wheel.
“I’m sure we’ll surprise a few folks because they’re not expecting to see us in this van,” said Richardson.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol along with Shelby County deputies and Memphis Police officers let the media ride along in unmarked passenger vans. Authorities are pointing out distracted drivers.
“It’s a very destructive habit and it’s costing people’s lives,” said Richardson.
Arriale Tabson with the TN Highway Safety Office said, “In 2017, there were approximately 24,000 crashes that were related to distracted driving, where distracted driving was a contributing factor. Of those 24,000 crashes, 120 of those were fatal.”
Law enforcement officials say the slightest distraction behind the wheel can lead to a crash that kills a pedestrian, construction worker, or another driver.
“Anything that takes your eyes off the road, hand off the wheel, or mind off driving is a distraction. If you’re not 100% focused, that’s when bad things happen,” Richardson said.
Officers say they’ll be out enforcing the distracted driving law all week.
Fines for distracted driving could cost up to $100.