Troopers demonstrate dangers of distracted driving


WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) — As drivers hit the road during Labor Day weekend, state police will be watching for drunken drivers — and distracted ones.

Michigan State Police felt they had to do something to cut down on distracted driving after 37 cars piled up on a highway last month in Livingston County.

“The troopers out there that were handling the traffic crashes were dealing with people that were not paying attention to the vehicles in front of them,” MSP Capt. Kyle Bowman said, “and not able to stop at a sure, clear distance, which is what the law requires.”

So they’re cracking down and warning drivers of the dangers. On Thursday, they demonstrated how distractions can affect your driving on a track near Lansing.

“The average text messages actually distract you about five seconds,” Sgt. Nick Darlington said. “So if you’re traveling about 70 mph, that’s 105 feet per second. You’re traveling 525 feet, which is taking your eyes off the road, right? That’s over the length of a football field.”

Distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people every year, according to several national studies.

Troopers say it’s easier than ever to get distracted.

“Whether or not you’re texting, playing with your GPS, changing the radio station, grabbing for food or magazines, putting on your makeup, talking to the kids in the backseat, all those things are taking your eyes off the road,” Bowman said. “We want people to pay attention.”

Drivers who are caught not paying attention on Michigan roads could pay $100 for a first offense, with higher fees for every future offense.

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