Bluffton Police cracking down on distracted drivers

BLUFFTON, S.C. – It’s happened countless of times. You’re driving and look down for just  one second to check that text, email, or change the song on the radio and then next second you’re slamming on the brakes.

“A wreck is the difference between one second reacting and another second not reacting. So most of the time when you look down it’s not going to be the moment but if it is that moment that’s all it takes,” Bluffton police officer Baker Odom said.

The Bluffton Police Department is getting ready to launch a campaign on distracted driving in order to improve overall safety in the town. There were more than 215 car crashes in Bluffton during the months of June and July.

While a common culprit of distracted driving lies with a cell phone, Officer Odom wants all drivers to know there are other daily tasks that can prove just as dangerous and just as deadly.

“If you’re putting on makeup while you’re trying to drive, that’s obviously something. Food can absolutely be a problem,” he said.

A growing problem that could result in a driver getting a ticket.

“You could get a ticket for failing to maintain your lane. Or if you were following to closely to someone cause you weren’t paying attention all of those issues that come from distracted driving could be ticketed,” Officer Odom said.

While is illegal to text and drive in South Carolina, Officer Odom says there is a gray area with using other aspects of a cell phone. Overall, he wants people to think twice before clicking on a link to watch a video or reach back to grab something from the backseat.

“Despite what people think, driving is the single most dangerous thing that people do for most of their lives,” he said.

While the campaign does not have a hard start time frame, BPD offices are already encouraged to be on the look out and act when necessary. Odom said he’s pulled two people over in the past month and given them tickets for texting.

“It’s something that we are going to be proactively looking for instead of reactively.”

Officer Odom says there is a particular danger at traffic lights when people tend to check phones, mirrors, or the radio causing them to take their eyes of the road, the traffic light and other drivers around them.

If you are caught multi-tasking or distracted driving you could be given a citation ticket with no warning totaling up to $50.



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