Big Rapids Dept. of Public Safety Participating in “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” Campaign

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, and officers are cracking down on those who are texting and driving.

Img 5537“We’re just trying to bring awareness to basically put the phone down when you’re driving,” said Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Community Relations Officer William Sell

Since 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving.

“Usually it’s something where we’ll see an offense occur, either running a red light or running a stop sign,” said Officer Sell. “Then when you go up and make contact with the driver, they’ll tell you, ‘Oh, I was on my phone’.”

Officer Sell says texting and driving leads to a massive number of crashes in the state.

“In 2019, there was over 18,000 crashes resulting in 70 fatalities,” he said.

Each April, police departments across the U.S. participate in the “U drive. U text. U pay.” campaign by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

“That’s just a focus for our officers to stop people that are texting and driving, and bring awareness to the drivers that in Michigan it is illegal to do that,” said Officer Sell.

And if you do get caught texting and driving, you’ll pay a steep ticket price.

“For the first offense, it’s $100 and for the second offense it’s $200,” said Officer Sell.

If it’s something you find yourself doing, the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety has some tips to help you stop.

“If you feel the need to text and drive, pull your car over, that’s the best thing you can do,” said Officer Sell.  “If you feel the urge that you have to do it, put the phone in the backseat, put it in your trunk, in your glove box where you don’t have access to it.”

Because texting and driving is a decision that affects everyone on the road.

“Two weeks ago the county took a crash where the driver advised that he had been looking at his phone, looked down for just a minute, and when he looked up, he ended up striking another vehicle,” said Officer Sell. “Even looking down for a second, your vehicle can travel a long distance in a short time and it can be very, very serious.”

Categories: Michigan This Morning