MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – Captain Tyler Chandler with the Mt. Juliet Police Department is hoping to pump the breaks on the growing number of traffic crashes in town.

“It’s nearly doubled,” Chandler explains.

In 2019, 667 accidents were reported in the city. That number shot up to 1,282 in 2021.

“What comes with that, too, are injuries,” Chandler says. “Injuries are up as well.”

He explains the root cause is distracted drivers focusing more on their devices than their destination.

“I’ve stopped a tractor-trailer driver personally because he had an iPad up in the dash watching a movie as he was driving down the road,” Chandler says.

The carelessness is even apparent as students simply try to get to school safely.

“They tell you they didn’t even realize it was a school zone. So, they missed the school buses that were out and about. They missed the students who were walking to and from school, and they also missed the warning beacons that are flashing yellow,” explains Chandler, “Clearly, they’re just not paying attention.”

This isn’t the first effort Mt. Juliet Police has made to combat the problem in their city.

“We’ve issued many, many warnings for this type of unsafe driving behavior. It’s just not working,” he says.

Now vowing to do more. “That has led us to start really enforcing the laws that are out there to prevent distracted driving, such as the handheld cell phone use law,” Chandler continues, “We’re just trying to do what we can to advocate for folks to be safe.”

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It’s a reminder to everyone to put the phone down and pay attention or face consequences.