MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Students are back, and with more cars out sharing the roads, it's important to remember the rules of the road and how to be a safe driver. This includes keeping anything that is considered a distraction tucked away until you've reach your destination.
One of the more obvious distractions include texting and driving, but other distractions can be changing the radio, talking on the phone, putting on make-up, picking something up, reading a book, or talking to passengers in the car.
But what happens when you're stopped at a red light? Is it still considered distracted driving? Meridian Township's Lt. Greg Frenger says while he prefers drivers change the radio or do something while at a stop, it can still be very dangerous.
"It also causes a hazard at times, as well, where the person becomes so engrossed in their phone or whatever they're doing that they don't realize that the light has changed. Now, they're holding up traffic, and other vehicles are beeping, so now they speed through the intersection maybe and run the red light and cause a collision that way. But more importantly, they cause a collision behind them, because other drivers are anticipating that traffic is going to start moving and they may already be in motion approaching the light, and we may have an accident that way. So, whatever the distractions are in your vehicle, be it your phone, your GPS unit, a book or a passenger, we ask that you try and focus on your driving efforts, no matter whether you're moving or stopped, and make sure that you're operating safely."
And for those who think sending a "quick" text is innocent or changing the radio is not a big deal while driving, Lt. Frenger disagrees and says people do get caught even when they think they won't.
"We do enforcement on all traffic violations just so that there is that concern that you will get caught eventually. That's the whole point of enforcement, is to try and deter that behavior. But, yes a lot of this behavior does go on and it is not a situation where they're caught, and so it just continues. So, what I would say to folks is that they need to really weigh the importance of what they're doing with their phone (or what they're doing in their car) versus the possibility of killing or hurting someone, either themselves or an innocent person on the roadway, and to weigh that out and realize that it's just not worth it."
While people may believe that police can't write tickets for something they can't prove (i.e., texting on their phones), Lt. Frenger says that much of their citations come from other factors that are a result of distracted driving, such as veering away from your lane and failure to signal.