THP launches statewide effort to combat distracted driving


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Distracted driving is becoming a leading cause of deadly crashes, and this week the Tennessee Highway Patrol launched a statewide effort to help combat the problem.

News 2 rode along with Tennessee State Troopers and Metro police who pulled over dozens of drivers caught texting while driving.

Within the first 15 minutes of THP’s effort in Nashville, officers pulled over six distracted or texting drivers.

When law enforcement pulled over a truck driver for texting while driving, he became angry and made an obscene gesture at officers.

Officers pulled over the driver of another truck and determined he had for warrants out for his arrest.

“Regardless of what law enforcement does, there is still going to be people texting and driving out there every day,” said Sgt. Bob Sheffield with Metro police.

Sgt. Sheffield works deadly crash investigations for Metro police and he was one of the officers on the THP bus looking for people breaking the law.

He said 27 percent of all the deadly crash investigations he conducts are connected to distracted drivers on their phone.

“Try to save some families some heartache of having to deal with the loss of a loved one. Just by a behavior that could be avoided,” said Sgt. Sheffield.

Even though the bus the officers were riding in was clearly marketed, it didn’t seem to stop drivers from texting and driving.

Officers pulled over 25 distracted drivers in Nashville within two hours.

“We are seeing people blatantly taking their phones out, texting with no regard for anyone else on the roadway and it’s shocking,” said THP spokesperson Arriale Tabson.

In Chattanooga, they pulled over 10 texting or distracted drivers in less than an hour.

Within the first 40 minutes of their operation in Knoxville, officers pulled over 11 people.

Tuesday they will also be patrolling Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, looking for texting and distracted drivers.

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