MSP joins campaign effort in targeting distracted driving

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police troopers want drivers to think twice before picking up a phone to text behind the wheel.  

The department is taking part in a national effort to step up patrols for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. 

Sgt. Andrew Jeffrey and a team of troopers conducted a special patrol Thursday morning for the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” enforcement campaign. The goal is to bring awareness to the dangers of texting and driving. 

“You’re traveling hundreds of feet every second and that reaction time, if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to have a lot of issues,” Jeffrey said. 

In Mecosta County, two people were injured Thursday after a crash as a result of distracted driving.

The crash happened just before 11 a.m. in Green Township on Northland Drive near 19 Mile Road.

A 22-year-old man was distracted with a cellphone when he tried to turn left in front of an oncoming vehicle, driven by a 20-year-old woman.

The 22-year-old driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A passenger in the car, another 22-year-old man, was treated on scene for minor injuries.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9% of fatal crashes involved distracted drivers in 2019.  

Between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in a crash involving a distracted driver.  

Tickets can cost $100 dollars or more for a first offense and repeat offenders can pay significantly higher amounts.  

MSP uses a variety of unmarked and marked vehicles to spot drivers and issue citations. 

Troopers hope a ticket will make people think twice before texting behind the wheel and will avoid the danger in the future. 

The high visibility enforcement campaign runs from April 8 to April 12.