Tennessee Highway Patrol cracks down on distracted driving

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Nov. 13, 2018 at 3:18 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Law enforcement officials say distracted driving has become an epidemic, and they want people to see what they see every day.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol calls it Operation Incognito, and police from all over Shelby County took part in it on Tuesday.

The media and community partners boarded a bus as patrols got to work stopping distracted driving.

While police followed, spotters on the bus tipped their counterparts in patrol cars off when they saw distracted drivers.

“See what we see every day with the hazards of texting and driving,” said THP Captain Jimmie Johnson. “People are texting and driving, putting on make-up, reading newspapers.”

From nearly the moment they pulled out of the Tennessee Highway Patrol headquarters on Summer Avenue, the sirens started.

Most of these drivers were pulled over for looking at their phones while driving. One person was even seen using a tablet.

Police also pulled over some people for seat belt and tinted window violations.

“The Highway Patrol will be issuing hard copy citations,” Capt. Johnson said.

So far this year, more than 6,300 crashes in the county are due to distracted driving, with some ending in the worst way.

“We’ve had seven fatalities that resulted from distracted driving, and that’s seven too many,” Capt. Johnson said.

Police say distracted driving has become the new normal on the roads. They’re hoping to change that normal one citation at a time.

“We’re at the point where we need to get the public’s attention with this,” Capt. Johnson said.

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