THP uses 40 foot bus to catch distracted drivers - WSMV News 4

THP uses 40 foot bus to catch distracted drivers

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A new campaign by law enforcement is catching drivers red handed. (WSMV) A new campaign by law enforcement is catching drivers red handed. (WSMV)

Don't text and drive is a message that can save lives. Despite being illegal, many still choose to ignore the law on Tennessee's roadways.

Statewide, a new campaign is urging drivers are being told to keep their hands and thumbs on the wheel.

On the inside, it looks like a normal transit bus. But on the outside, it's a giant driving billboard that says "Tennessee State Troopers."

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office and Tennessee Highway Patrol are teaming up with Metro Nashville Police to catch drivers in the act.

"Sending a text message and receiving one takes about 4.6 seconds,” said Sgt. Travis Plotzer with THP. “At 55 mph, you're going to travel at least a football field length. That's pretty much driving it blindfolded.”

The marked THP bus carries troopers and Metro officers who scan the roads for drivers breaking the law.

“You're up at a higher elevation, so it makes it easier to see those violations,” Plotzer said.

The spotters relay it to teams on the road, who then pull over the drivers.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

This bus is going to making several stops along the way. Before it came to Nashville, it was in Memphis. Next it's on its way to Chattanooga as part of this safety tour.

Throughout the tour, the hashtag #ThumbsDownTN will promote the third annual Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving campaign.

“Last year alone, law enforcement investigated 17,000 crashes that were related to inattentive drivers," Plotzer said.

In a two-hour period, the Tennessee Highway Patrol made 25 stops for distracted driving.

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