Police in San Bernardino are taking a rather unusual approach to stop distracted drivers in the city.
According to a CBS news report, police officers posed as homeless panhandlers holding signs on the roadway.
Drivers assumed the officers were panhandlers.
But, had they read the signs instead of what was on their phones, they would have realized that they were just about to get caught for driving while distracted.
The signs say in bold letters: “I’m NOT homeless – SB police looking for seatbelt and cell phone violators.”
During this novel operation, officers busted drivers for more than distracted driving. What they saw was also deeply disturbing.
One female driver they stopped was not wearing a seatbelt, was talking on her phone, putting on mascara – and driving.
San Bernardino police are cracking down on distracted driving because they say the city now has more traffic accidents than homicides.
They believe this is largely due to the fact that drivers are not paying attention to the roadway.
Understanding the Risk
National statistics show that cell phones are involved in 1.6 million traffic accidents each year, killing 6,000 people.
About 98 percent of adults say they know texting and driving is unsafe but 49 percent admit to still doing it. San Bernardino police say, during this operation, in just two hours, they stopped 54 people and issued 39 tickets for distracted driving.
On average, a person takes his or her eyes off the road for five seconds every time they text. At 55 mph that’s like covering the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.
Distracted driving accidents are entirely preventable and that’s the message these officers are apparently trying to send.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
Here are a few things all of us can try to prevent distracted driving:
- Turn off your cell phone or switch it to silent mode.
- Record a message on your phone that tells callers you are driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road.
- Pull over to a safe area if you absolutely need to make a call.
- Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text.
- Do not text and drive, browse the Web or read your email while driving.
Maintain your focus on driving. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading or any other activity that takes your mind or eyes off the roadway.