State Police Patrol to Catch Distracted Drivers

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and West Virginia State Police say they're out in full force trying to keep the roads safe.

They're looking for offenders who don't have both hands on the wheel.

"We're going to be out doing patrols and getting the message out that distracted driving is dangerous," West Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Baylous said.

Texters and talkers beware -- if you use a handheld phone, you can't keep both hands on the wheel. Police say that not only puts yourself at risk, but everyone else sharing the road with you.

"We also see some other things that are just as egregious as texting," Baylous said. "Like shaving, putting on makeup and reading the newspaper ... it's hard to tell what we'll see out there."

A trip down Corridor G Friday afternoon turned up many multi-taskers, some fumbling to hide the evidence. But state police say before you see them, they'll see you.

You might think you're being sneaky if you're don't swerve, but troopers say there are other signs. They say distracted drivers often stay in the fast lane and don't move over for other traffic when they can.

Troopers are prepared to pull you over, because they say what seems like a bad habit could mean the difference between life and death.

"Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver out on the road," Baylous said.

State Police say the campaign isn't about writing tickets but about promoting highway safety.

They say they don't receive any money from the tickets they write.

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