Distracted driving on the increase in Tennessee - WSMV News 4

Distracted driving on the increase in Tennessee

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Distracted driving is on the rise in Tennessee, according to police statistics. (WSMV) Distracted driving is on the rise in Tennessee, according to police statistics. (WSMV)

The number of crashes involving distracted driving in Tennessee is on the rise, according to statistics.

There have been just over 22,700 distracted driving crashes so far in 2017 with 81 of those being fatal.

That's up from 2016 when there were just over 23,000 for the entire year.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol teamed up with Metro Police and the Tennessee Highway Safety Office Thursday morning to crack down on distracted driving.

As part of a special enforcement program, they rode around on a bus labeled "Tennessee Highway Patrol" looking for anyone not paying attention to the road.

Within just 30 minutes with a News 4 crew on board the bus, more than 12 drivers were pulled over for distracted driving.

Law enforcement officials said it's not just texting and driving, it's anything that takes your eyes off the road including messing with your GPS, changing the radio station, even eating.

Officials say it's drivers being irresponsible, not willing to put down their phones, that's costing lives.

"We are a very technology-based society and we want the news information now, we don't want to wait for it and we're all guilty of it. We want it now, that's why we have our smartphones but we're just gonna have to simply put down our smartphones and get and get to driving," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Charlie Caplinger.

A ticket for texting while driving costs about $60.

Messing with your GPS or radio is also considered lack of due care and could result in a $150 fine.

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