Law enforcement increasing awareness of risk of distracted driving

Law enforcement increasing awareness of risk of distracted driving
April is national distracted driving awareness month. (Source: WTOC)

RINCON, Ga. (WTOC) - The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia is working to reduce the number of deaths and serious crashes.

Officials will be paying extra attention in April as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Local law enforcement agencies set up a distracted driving detail in Rincon on Thursday.

“That’s a 3,500 pound weapon that you drive around every day and you have to be in control of that at all times, you have to be aware of what’s going on,” said Powell Harrelson, the law enforcement coordinator for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “By not messing with you cell phone, by waiting to get to your destination to look at what you want to look at on your phone you can be saving your own life or somebody else’s.”

The office says in 2018 through 2019, national numbers for crashes due to distracted driving were up but in Georgia numbers were down. Officials say Georgia’s lower numbers are because of the hands-free law that started in July of 2018.

Despite the downward trend, officials say they’ll still write plenty of citations for distracted driving as a part of the campaign this month.

“If you are paying attention to a cell phone or talking to someone or paying attention to something that is going on inside that car that you shouldn’t be paying attention to and not paying attention to what is going on in the road then your likelihood of getting injured in a crash or even being in a crash rises tremendously,” Harrelson said.

In April, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be out weekly in the area looking for distracted drivers.

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