Statistics show that texting while driving is much more likely to lead to an accident than simply driving while impaired. In Marietta, Georgia, police decided to do something about it.
Police officers in Marietta went undercover as members of a construction crew to catch drivers checking a mobile device behind the wheel. Texting while driving is against the law in Georgia.
The officers set up at a busy intersection in Cobb County to get a closer look inside vehicles, Marietta police officer Nick Serkedakis told wsb-tv.
“What we’ve done here is we’re able to put officers in the roads so we’re able to get close enough almost inside their cars so we can look down and see exactly what they’re doing on their phones,” he said.
Marietta police insisted that even drivers stopped at a traffic light, as many of the targets of the undercover sting on Wednesday were, are subject to the state’s laws. By not identifying themselves as officers, Serkedakis said that police can get a better idea of who is breaking state law.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re stopped at a light, if you’re on a public thoroughfare and facing the phone we’re going to have a conversation with you,” he said.
Police said many drivers pulled over for texting as they waited for the traffic light said they did not know details of Georgia’s texting-while-driving law, established in 2010.
Tickets for the offense are $150 and one point on a driver’s license, according to wsb-tv.
Police said the amount of distracted driving that occurs — and the at times dire ramifications of such impairment — justified their undercover tactics.
“I really think this is the DUI of the future. Impairment is still a problem, but this distracted driving is killing as many people as drunk drivers,” Serkedakis said.
Georgia police officers, however, are allowed to text or operate devices while driving. So far, construction workers are not empowered to issue the police citations of any nature.