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Troopers crack down on distracted drivers

Posted February 1, 2012

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— Starting Wednesday, state troopers will begin cracking down on drivers distracted from the road.

Data collected from the state Department of Transportation from 2004 to 2008 shows an average of 57,984 people a year are involved in crashes in North Carolina where distracted driving is a factor. More than 13,000 are injured and 119 die. 

Nationwide, the number of people killed in distracted driving-related wrecks is nearly 5,500.

"I see a lot of people driving with their elbows on the steering wheel, texting with one hand," Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon said. 

The North Carolina General Assembly voted in 2009 to make texting while driving illegal and troopers began issuing tickets in 2010 to drivers who violate that law. About 1,500 drivers have been cited.

But the State Highway Patrol says the texting law doesn't go far enough in preventing distracted driving.

Texting ban takes effect Tuesday Campaign targets distracted drivers

Other common driving distractions include eating, reading, putting on makeup and adjusting the radio.

"Distracted driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving," Trooper Brian Maynard said. 

Read ways to keep yourself from getting distracted while behind the wheel

During the first day of the Highway Patrol's two-day Distracted Campaign in Johnston, Wilson, Nash and Halifax counties, troopers issued 39 traffic citations, but only two were for texting while driving, Gordon said. Troopers also issued 39 warnings, Gordon added, including 16 for texting while driving.

Andy Rush received one of those warnings, but said he supports the campaign.

"If it cuts down on 5,500 deaths, it is a good reason to do it," he said.

The campaign continues Thursday in Durham and Wake counties, where troopers will focus on Interstates 85 and 40.

Distracting driving charges can result in hundreds of dollars in fines, plus points placed on a driver's license. 


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  • rrtraindepot Feb 2, 2012

    fitteryou , you are wrong. I have not had a ticket in the 36 years of me having my licenses. I do not text and I don.t think anyone else should while they are driving. If these poeple text while driving fine, they should get a ticket. My problem is this politianss are passing laws that should not be passed. I do drink a soda or have eaten an sandwich in the the car and have never caused an accident nor hurt anyone, nor took another right away from another driver. I have seen police, senators, etc eating while they are driving. And yes you are suppose to obey the laws that are apond us. Remember this, in the 1960's there were laws the black race were suppose to had obeyed and if they had listened to you they would not have their rights they have today and I commend them for doing what they felt was not right. As far as your statement about Europe don't have this mess there, let me tell you they do. Example the drugs that are in the US now is partly Englands fault. You dam Beatles bough

  • VoiceMatters Feb 2, 2012

    Texting while driving is just about as dangerous (if not worse) than drinking and driving. At least when you are drinking & driving you can 1/2-way see the road. If you are texting while driving, you are looking up and down at your texting device. Not saying that drinking & driving is okay by no means...just comparing how WORSE it is as compared to drinking & driving!

  • krazikatt2 Feb 2, 2012

    OH and everyone...try this game to see how well you do with driving and texting...


  • krazikatt2 Feb 2, 2012

    WonderingWoman ~ You rock! I agree. The only reason I pay attention to the poplice on the highway is to ensure that I am not traveling to close to them when they have someone pulled over for their safety and the safety of the driver pulled over. I applaud you!

    EVERYONE: Remember that most deaths of LEOs in the line of duty are statistically caused by careless drivers who hit them while they are stopped on the side of the road! In 2010, Traffic accidents accounted for 73 of 160 police deaths nationwide. (http://www.npr.org/2010/12/29/132441719/Traffic-Accidents-Leading-Cause-Of-Police-Deaths)

  • changedmyname Feb 1, 2012

    WonderingWoman - so just b/c we're watching the troopers (and I'd bet you do, too), we're "distracted". Easily distracted, are you?-OneLove

    OneLove that didn't even make sense. Let's see- I don't own a cell phone, I don't drink, don't smoke, don't allow eating or drinking in the car-cause I don't want to clean it up, and my kids are grown and when I travel with my pet, they are secured in a travel crate. So I AM watching the road and I don't have to watch the PO PO because I'm driving the speed limit and observing all traffic rules and being considerate of other drivers. So no, I AM not easily distracted.

  • fitteryou Feb 1, 2012

    If you do not break the law, and drive like you were taught in school, perhaps you all would not be so anti-cop. What's the matter, got too many tickets? After 36 years of driving, the number of tickets: 0; accidents:0 Why? I obey the laws and realize I am not the only one on this self-absorbed earth.

  • fitteryou Feb 1, 2012

    Wrong! You are an adult RRtrainwhatever (I assume). Obey the law! I have no tickets in 35 years of driving. Safety belts, no phoning/texting are all common sense safety precautions. We, as adults ignore our responsibilities and forget others are on this earth because we are so self absorbed doing our own thing. We have forced us the governing body to crack down on us, because of people like rrtraindepot!. Take responsibility. They dont have this kind of a mess in Europe.

  • soyousay Feb 1, 2012

    I have video on police not making complete stops at stop signs..

    really, stalking the police is never wise

  • bcsutton1 Feb 1, 2012

    Cops cannow pull us over for "eating while driving" while they do the same thing with a dunkin doughnut?

  • rrtraindepot Feb 1, 2012

    Another example of becoming the USSR, (taking our freedom from us)I am not a smoker. I told my friends and family members that you cannot allow this government of banning things. They have taking the rights of smokers to smoke in certain areas. Now they have even went further now that this government has gotten away with this. An person has the right to smoke in his or hers own car correct?? Hot no more, this person will now get a ticket for smoking while driving. What going to be next?? I will tell you, that same person soon will not be allowed to smoke in his house! You and me needs to wake up before it is to late. We need our media to help us put the pressure on our public officials. You have heard of giving a foot and they take a mile. Well this whats been going on for the last 35 years starting with the sign ordinance 35 years ago.