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Police ramp up efforts to catch distracted drivers

Everyone has been guilty at some point of checking their phone, doing their makeup or eating behind the wheel. However, any glances or diversions off the road can cause an accident. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nine people a day are killed on U.S. roads due to the negligence of distracted drivers. In many states, authorities often find themselves cracking down more on distracted driving than drunk driving.

How is distracted driving defined?

A lot of people blame phones for most vehicle accidents. While they do play a significant role, they are not the only thing that diverts our attention off the road. Distracted driving is any motion or action that takes your focus away from driving. Whether you're gazing intently at a billboard, reaching for a fallen object or eating while driving, any of these instances could result in a crash.

What law enforcement officials are doing to spot distracted driving

Because distracted drivers are much harder to spot, authorities across America have had to come up with new and creative ways to catch them. One recent three-week stakeout in Minnesota shows what lengths police have gone to catch distracted drivers in the act. Here are some of the tactics they used:

  • Going undercover: Officers disguised themselves as construction workers or utility workers when looking for drivers who didn't have their full attention on driving. The officers knew that if they were in their usual blue uniforms, they wouldn't be able to catch anyone.
  • Riding the bus: Whether it was for school or public transit, some officers hid out on busses and used students and the public's help to peer into the windows of cars where people might be texting while driving. The officers then notified squad cars to pull them over.
  • Pretend panhandling: In Anoka, Minnesota, officers posed as panhandlers holding cardboard signs in a busy intersection. At first, people thought they were homeless, but when drivers came closer, they realized it was police officers in plain clothes catching people whose eyes were off the road.

What you can do

Distracted driving is a severe offense and, in some cases, can even be fatal. If you or someone you love is the victim of a distracted driving accident, an attorney can assist in getting the proper compensation.

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