DATE: Tuesday, March 30, 2020
SUBJECT: Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office Conducting Distracted Driving Patrols
RELEASE NUMBER: 2021-NR-016
CONTACT: Lt. Matt Corn
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding
With Distracted Driving Awareness Month underway, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office is joining law enforcement agencies across the state and nation for a one-day (24-hour) enforcement campaign called Connect 2 Disconnect. On April 8, officers will be conducting high-visibility patrols to remind motorists about the dangers and consequences of texting and distracted driving.
Connect 2 Disconnect is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.
“It’s extremely dangerous to text and drive,” said Sheriff Dave Wedding. “Taking your eyes off the road, for even a few seconds, could end in a disaster. If we all do our part, we can put a stop to distracted driving and prevent these senseless tragedies from occurring.”
Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts attention away from the task of driving and includes everything from adjusting the stereo to grooming to eating and drinking. Although all forms are considered dangerous, as they increase the risk of crashing, texting continues to be the most pervasive.
On average, people that text and drive take their attention away from the road for five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s the equivalent of driving the full length of a football field blindfolded.
To help curb distracted driving, in 2020, Indiana became the 22nd state in the nation to pass a hands-free device driving law, which prohibits motorists from holding a mobile device, except in emergencies, while their vehicles are moving. Anyone caught violating the law could face a Class C infraction with fines up to $500.
Since the law went into effect last July, more than 2,918 citations and 7,352 warnings have been issued statewide as of March 31, according to the criminal justice institute.
Distracted driving crashes are completely preventable. To save lives, the sheriff’s office wants to encourage motorists to put away their phones and to always pay attention to the road.
Drivers can activate their phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature or place it in their glove box, center console or back seat until they reach their destination. They can also designate a passenger to be their “designated texter” by allowing them to access their phone.