POOLER, Ga (WSAV) – Law enforcement agencies are warning drivers to keep their eyes and minds on the road. Monday began a statewide crackdown on distracted driving.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says Georgia State Patrol, Pooler Police, and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department are joining the week-long nationwide enforcement effort. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is normally observed in April, but this year it has been moved to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a person’s attention away from driving, such as adjusting the radio or fiddling with your phone. Cellphone use is one of the biggest distractions for drivers. But other distractions include talking to passengers, eating, and grooming.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving crashes killed 2,841 people and injured about 400,000 more in the U.S. in 2018.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 30 years, and I’ve had to deliver many death notifications, and it’s never any fun to tell a mom, dad, aunt or uncle, anybody that one of their loved ones has been killed in a car crash,” said Powell Harrelson, a GOHS Law Enforcement Coordinator.
Police are seeing less traffic due to the pandemic, but many people are preoccupied behind the wheel. State troopers say they can see some of that COVID-19 related anxiety out on the roads.
“Parents don’t know if their kids are going to go to school, jobs are being lost, people are going to work half the time, so we’re all distracted by the pandemic alone, let alone being distracted by electronic devices while you’re driving,” said Lt Maurice Raines with GOHS.
They say the goal is to bring awareness, not issue citations. Distracted Driving Enforcement Week ends next Monday, October 12.