Pooler Police crack down hard on texting and driving - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Pooler Police crack down hard on texting and driving

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It's been almost four years since Georgia banned texting and driving and you'd think drivers here would have learned by now to put the phones down when behind the wheel.

However, Pooler Police are so concerned about busy thumbs and distracted eyes, they are cracking down hard.

Advanced Patrol Officer Michael Swords allowed WTOC's Traffic Reporter Jamie Ertle ride in the spotter car for the operation. He sees the offender and calls it in to a marked car who will pull that person over. He says, "We're enforcing the safety of the public. If we got something better to do, then yes, we'll do that, but we're enforcing traffic laws."

APO Swords says with more people coming into the city to eat, play and live, comes more distracted driving, especially along the Pooler Parkway.

"Up there around a lot of the new businesses it's becoming worse because it's a lot of stop and go traffic up there so everybody thinks, okay -- stop and go traffic, let me get on my phone, let me text whoever."

But it's not okay, you're still behind the wheel.

Pooler PD Captain Jim Ward admits, "Texting and driving has become a growing problem in this area."

Ward says his office would rather stop violators in the act than respond to a result of the act.

"There's a consequence when you get caught texting and driving, but there's a bigger consequence when you text and drive and have an accident and take somebody's life," says Ward.

It's not just a texting and driving blitz, officers posted on Quacco Road are pulling people over, stopping them at a check point, looking for anything: licenses, registration, cracked windows, you name it. Some of the drivers ticketed there were not wearing seatbelts or did not have their children properly restrained.

Former Pooler officer now with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Powell Harrelson, had some words of wisdom from former Chief Butch Chan.

"He said, 'If you get out there and start stopping cars, you're going to catch criminals; they're not doing burglaries and walking home, I can assure you, they're out driving around.'"

For the rest of us not committing burglaries, "just" texting, Officer Swords isn't cutting you any slack.

"They're breaking the law just as anyone else doing things criminal," he said.

The Total Traffic Safety Blitz continues through the month of June; so far around 100 citations have been issued, including a dozen for texting and driving.

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