Stopping Distracted Drivers In Franklin County

Contributor: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 11/07/2013 12:39 am

Franklin County deputies are hitting the road to keep drivers off their cell phones.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said they’ve seen an increase in distracted driving crashes recently.

In one year, Melton said there were 912 distracted driving crashes. He added that there were 70 injuries in those accidents.

“We're seeing a huge increase in crashes and people are unfortunately thinking of everything else but driving down the road,” Melton said.

Now the Sheriff’s Office is using a $10,000 grant to have two deputies ride in an unmarked vehicle and look for drivers who are on their phones.

“We try to roll us beside them generally at traffic lights,” a Franklin County deputy said, “Because that's when a person has a normal tendency to get on their Facebook or GPS or text somebody is while they're sitting at a traffic light.”

Deputies said they can’t ticket people for being on their phone while the car is not moving. But once they take their foot off the break, they’re at fault.

If you do get caught using your cell phone while driving, Melton said it’s three points off your license, a $20 fine and a $143 court fee.

According to Melton, you can still talk on your phone in the car. But everything else – texting, checking the Internet, using your GPS – is illegal.

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