“We have seen an increase in distracted driving, mostly in cell phone use”, says Ryan Crawford, a patrolman for the Jonesboro Police Department.
The JPD is dedicating a team of officers to targeting drivers that text, eat and take on other activities while driving through the city.
“Distracted driving leads to many accidents,” Crawford adds. “So in an effort to make the road safer…we’re gonna crack down on that sort of activity.”
Officers are concentrating their efforts in high-traffic areas. Those include red wolf boulevard, east highland drive, Johnson avenue and south caraway road. Negligent drivers make a-state student Josh Greenwell uneasy.
“Whenever I see someone that’s texting and driving on the road, it’s a little upsetting for me,” says Greenwell. “You really only have to not be paying attention for a second before something potentially fatal happens.”
Kelli Listenbee, who is a learning services coordinator at Arkansas State says, “it definitely just makes me honk more. People are making it more dangerous for other drivers, who aren’t distracted drivers.”
Those caught driving distracted will receive a citation, and possibly additional fines.
There isn’t a distracted driving citation for drivers in Jonesboro, per say, but that doesn’t mean the ticket won’t be pricy. Violations could fall into the careless and prohibited, or hazardous and neglect driving categories, costing as much as two hundred dollars.
The j-p-d decided to launch the campaign this week, after receiving a growing number of complaints. But patrolman Ryan Crawford says he will likely have his work cut out for him.
“The vast majority of people aren’t going to want to tell you that they were on their phone which led to the wreck, or that they were eating that sandwich, or putting on their makeup,” Crawford explains, “so that’s when you have to do your due diligence in your traffic investigation.”
Seven or more officers will seek out distracted drivers around the clock.