Troopers kick off statewide distracted driving enforcement bus tour

Tennessee Highway Patrol launches campaign against distracted driving.

"We put patrols out there and we do check points to sift out people who are driving distracted", said Trooper James O'Callaghan, with NYS Police.

While talking on the phone does not require drivers to look away from the road, Oswald noted this can also be distracting.

"Unfortunately, [technology has] become an even bigger distraction than we've seen in previous years", Redman tells OneNewsNow.

It's National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the state of Tennessee is taking it seriously. Whether it's using that cell phone, or people doing their hair and makeup and even reading the newspaper.

"We want drivers to do what makes it safe on the roadways, and we change driver behavior through education or enforcement, and we let the driver choose which one", said Brenda Jones, assistant law enforcement administrator for the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that nationwide in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and more than 391,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.

Distracted driving is just as risky as drunk driving - texting and driving can be even MORE unsafe. "Teenagers are being taught from the beginning not to use their phones and adults think our experience as being a driver allows us to have more freedom".

More officers will spend more time enforcing the state's ban on texting and emailing while behind the wheel, along with a ban on cell phones for drivers with learning permits and provisional licenses.

Preliminary data reveals that in 2016, Tennessee experienced its highest number of known distracted-driving crashes at 24,743.

  • Leroy Wright