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Troopers crack down on texting and driving

Posted July 22, 2011

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— To catch people texting while driving on the interstate, North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers need to blend in, so they patrol in unmarked cars.

WRAL News spent a day patrolling with troopers along Interstate 95 in Harnett County as part of “Operation Distracted Driver,” which seeks to stop texting and driving. Within the first hour, troopers had their first violator.

The driver said she was just ending a phone call, but that’s not what troopers saw.

“I pulled up beside her and observed her with the phone in her hand for a full minute, texting on the phone,” 1st Sgt. Tracy Coleman said.

The driver was given a ticket and owes a $100 fine and $172 in court costs.

Troopers say texting drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a crash.

“That split second they’re looking down, anything can happen,” Coleman said.

Troopers say they look for swerving and people turning their heads away from the road. Then, troopers pull up right next to the vehicle to see what the driver is doing.

Trooper Steven Spivey spotted one driver looking down at her phone for some time, so he pulled her over. Since the trooper did not actually see her typing, she got a warning.

The driver told troopers that she was just looking up a phone number. Troopers say drivers always have an excuse.

“People will tell you they’re using their phone to dial a number or call a friend or family member,” Spivey said.

Troopers crack down on texting and driving Troopers crack down on texting and driving

During WRAL News’s ride along with troopers, one driver was ticketed.

The Highway patrol plans to do another "Operation Distracted Driver" at the end of August.

In 2010, troopers issued 651 tickets to people for texting while driving. Of that, nearly 250 tickets were given to people over the age of 30. In 2011, troopers so far have issued 472 tickets for texting while driving.

31 Comments

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  • lauren329 Jul 27, 2011

    "Punishment should include being slapped for doing something stupid."
    ckblackm

    LOL!! Love it!!

  • kermit60 Jul 25, 2011

    Less than 1000 tickets for the entire state for an entire year. For an offense you can see everytime you drive this is vey low. Six times more likely to kill or injure someone is what they should of said.

  • Talw Jul 25, 2011

    looking up ph# whie driving can also cause an accident, it's like texting...

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 25, 2011

    The law enforcement people so get some driving skill taught to them that most ordinary citizens don't. I believe that most try and obey the laws of the road.
    As for texting and driving, I'll say that with the numbers about using cell phones, that they should be banned all togther. We have all seen someone slow down, drive in center of road etc. just to see them at the stop sign or light wiht a cell phone stuck to their ear.

  • cfazio62 Jul 22, 2011

    Troopers Wyrick and Smith were texting and driving......why don't they get tickets?.....citizens arrest!citizens arrest!

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 22, 2011

    cheyenne196643
    July 22, 2011 5:57 p.m.
    Ignore Report abuse
    I certainly hope you guys provide a statement to the investigating officer.

  • turbo08 Jul 22, 2011

    texting while driving? might as well have a bottle of whiskey in your hand

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 22, 2011

    @ thepeopleschamp,
    Must be in law enforcement. This is a serious issue and the Law enforcement, have been call on the carpet several time for abuse of not following the law. This has cost state, and local goverment hughes amount of money for pay out and increase in insurance cost. The problem is worse they lose their jobs and go somewhere else unless they get hit with a law suit. I still see some riding around no head lights during rain, not stopping at intersection, small stuff, but it could lead to something serious. You would think that they would be setting the example and being the exception in order to gain the people who they are to protect respect.

  • LocalYokel Jul 22, 2011

    Troopers could write over 651 texting tickets/hour in Wake county....but they don't.

    Texting drivers are both dangerous and rude.

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 22, 2011

    That pne post for reviewing phone record if there a justified cause is not bad. But a warrant would be needed I would think. Also, this should be expanded to seeing a driver, who is in fact, driving erratic and then found to be on cell phone, should get a ticket for careless and wreckly driving. or if that's too strong, then how about safe movement. Because they are certain not capable of driving and using a cell phone.

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