It is now widely considered to be a fact – distracted driving is just as dangerous, if not more so, than drunk driving. With the introduction of cellphones and other devices, people’s attempts at multitasking behind the wheel has resulted in countless deaths and injuries over the years. Police Departments all over Michigan have prioritized distracted driving, treating it much the same way as they do intoxicated driving. However it appears that awareness campaigns and expensive tickets just aren’t doing the trick.
The Michigan State Police have decided to take matters into their own hands and deploy a number of officers in unmarked vehicles to look for distracted drivers. Each unmarked vehicle will contain two officers – one who is to focus on driving and the other to scan the surrounding vehicles for drivers not paying attention to the road. If they happen to see a distracted driver, they radio the info to a patrol car and the driver gets pulled over.
According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, 7,516 vehicle crashes took place during 2015 in Michigan that involved a distracted driver. The result was a total of 28 deaths and 3,472 injuries. Of those crashes, 753 involved cell phone use. This amounts to a lot of lost lives and millions of dollars in medical costs, all of which are preventable.
MSP officers from several posts around Michigan have already deployed their distracted driving tag teams, and plan to keep them on the road throughout the summer. In Macomb County these patrols have been nicknamed “Ghost riders.” by the officers involved. Several local law enforcement agencies plan to participate in the effort as well. Officers have repeated that they don’t want the public to think of them as being sneaky, they simply want to save lives and this seems like the best way to do it.
The National Highway & Transportation Administration (NHTSA) says that distracted driving claims thousands of lives every year. For example, in 2014, 3,179 people were killed around the U.S, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. They do point out that the majority of these crashes were the result of texting and driving, however, there are many factors that contribute to distracted driving these days.
The following is a list of specific things that Michigan police officers have seen drivers doing:
- Eating or preparing food
- Using cell phones (texting, posting to social media, checking email, etc…)
- Watching movies (on cell phones or tablets)
- Putting on make-up
- Styling hair
- Arguing with passengers in the rear of the vehicle
- Reading magazines, books or paperwork
As always, we would like to remind our readers to be careful and use your best judgment. In addition to avoiding a DUI by catching a cab, designating a driver or staying over, please be careful about what you choose to do while driving. We understand that driving can feel so automated in our minds, which can lead to the incorrect idea that you’re safe doing other things behind the wheel. But things happen so quickly on the road. All it takes is the blink of an eye to change your life forever.
If you or a loved one have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled drunk driving attorneys will be with you every step of the way, aggressively defending your rights and ensuring that your case gets the best possible outcome.