MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Members of multiple law enforcement agencies in Maury County flooded Nashville Highway, a problematic road when it comes to crashes and fatalities, on Tuesday to carry out a traffic safety operation.
This operation was conducted by the Columbia Police Department, the Spring Hill Police Department, the Maury County Sheriff’s Department, and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP)
According to authorities, the operation an effort to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities by conducting “high visibility, directed traffic enforcement” along Nashville Highway.
In the span of three hours, officials said they conducted 78 traffic stops, making multiple citations and arrests on Tuesday, March 7.
Officers reportedly noticed violations involving speeding, distracted driving, seat belts, the Move Over Law, and driving on revoked or suspended licenses.
Police said the emphasis of the operation was on school zones and areas where crashes happen more frequently.
As part of the operation, members of the various law enforcement agencies rode inside a Maury County school bus for elevated visibility to see into passenger cars.
Meanwhile, other officers patrolled the road to pull violators over.
“Highway 31 is a busy corridor for us,” Spring Hill Lt. Mike Foster said. “We have had lots of traffic crashes there, including recently some fatalities.”
News 2 obtained footage from Spring Hill Police showing some of the 26 traffic stops that department made over the course of several hours, including stops for expired tags, as well as a multitude of hands-free violations reported by officers.
One video shows an officer telling a young woman, “There’s a school bus driving around with law enforcement officers on it and they saw you with your phone in your hand. That’s why I stopped you.”
News 2 asked Foster about the Hands Free Law, which essentially prohibits motorists from holding a cell phone in their hands or with any part of their body. The law also prohibits drivers from reading or writing texts, reaching for a cell phone, watching a video, or recording or broadcasting a video while driving.
In another video, a woman is pulled over for a seat belt violation, but the officer quickly asks her if she has been drinking, which she denies, but a short time later, the officer asks the woman again if she is impaired.
Officer: “You been drinking this morning?”
Driver: “I have not been drinking this morning. I literally just woke up.”
Officer: “Okay, alright, so how much did you drink last night? Was it a lot?”
The officers put the woman through a battery of field sobriety tests. In the end, the woman is only cited for the seat belt infraction.
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Officer: “You’re right at the cusp, and I’m not gonna cause you any problems, but we don’t need to do this again, okay?”
Driver: “Yes sir.”
By the end of Tuesday’s operation, Spring Hill Police wrote 27 citations and gave out many warnings.
“The goal is to educate people and change behavior,” Foster said. “If we can do that by giving a warning, then great. That’s what we prefer to do.”