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Several Michigan Law Enforcement Agencies Take Part In Campaign To Crack Down On Distracted Driving

(CBS DETROIT) - It's operation "Connect to Disconnect."

In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, law enforcement agencies in several Michigan communities on Thursday participated in the "U Drive, U Text, U Pay," campaign -- four-hour distracted driving enforcement and awareness initiative.

CW50 took a ride along with Macomb County Sheriff's Office officials, and it didn't take long to catch a driver in the act.

"She was driving up with her phone just like this," said Sgt. Kenneth Rumps with the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, as he hit the sirens to pull over a driver using her cell phone on Hall Road near Gratiot Avenue in Macomb.

That driver ended up having a suspended license and was put in the back of a patrol car, Rumps said she could have been taken into custody and forced to see a judge, which would have taken hours.

"She could have been locked up in a cell for that long, just for looking at her phone," Rumps said.

Fines for distracted driving are $100-$200 in Michigan and could result in points on your license.

Just a couple of minutes after that stop, another driver was spotted on his phone in the same area.

"It was this person in a white jeep up there," Rump said as he once again turned on his patrol car sirens.

"You're driving record looks pretty good, nothing since 2014, what I'm going to do is, choose education on enforcement, ok just advise you of the dangers of texting while driving," Rump explains to the driver.

This driver got away with not only a warning but hopefully a life lesson, that could potentially save a life.

"When people are looking at their phone and a person is stopped in front of them, they're looking at their phone and don't realize it and smash into the back end of somebody," Rump said.

According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts:

There were 14,236 motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2020, and 48 of those crashes were fatal.

Although most common, officers say cell phone use while driving is not the only distraction, in fact, it's anything that takes your attention off the road, such as applying make-up, changing the radio station, eating or drinking while driving. Law enforcement says to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Rump says drivers seem to be getting worse and more dangerous.

"The speeding, everything. Everything's just getting out of control."

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