EUGENE, Ore. — Law enforcement across Oregon plans a crack down on texting while driving this February. Police say the problem is deadly and they’re making it a top priority.
Just about everyone sends text messages these days; with the extra texting, there comes a dangerous problem for drivers everywhere.
“Texting while driving can be twice as dangerous as DUII,” said Sgt. John Umenhofer, Springfield Police Department.
Since 2010, 20 people in Oregon have lost their lives from crashes caused by texting. The Oregon Department of Transportation has had enough and is funding overtime for police to focus on stopping this deadly habit.
“We’re just gonna have zero tolerance on that. We’re gonna go after them and we’re gonna cite them,” Sgt. Umenhofer said.
With the extra eyes watching drivers, there’s a greater chance for those texting to get cited and have pay the $142 fee.
“Our officers, if they see someone doing it, they cite them 100 percent of the time,” Sgt. Umenhofer said.
Law enforcement warns that it may seem like a quick glance off the road, but it could wreak havoc.
“The average time it takes to send a text or to receive a text in a vehicle, just a small one, is about 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that could be the length of a football field,” said Carrie Carver, Lane County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
AT&T asked texters to take the pledge to stop texting at the wheel. For those who can’t resist, there are even apps to put phones on driving mode and send a message to contacts.
Law enforcement is cracking down, but they say they can’t be everywhere at once and need the public’s help to spread the word about this growing problem.