LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– Many people will hit the road during Labor Day weekend this year, and law enforcement will watch for things like drunk driving.
But there’s one other issue they’ll watch for that affects millions of people every day.
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 during an accident in Livingston County.
“Troopers out there…were dealing with people that were not paying attention to the vehicles in front of them,” Captain Kyle Bowman said, “and not able to stop at a clear distance, which is what the law requires.”
Troopers tested their distracted skills on a nearly-empty track today. They say it’s easier than ever to get distracted behind the wheel.
“Whether or not you’re texting, playing with your GPS, changing the radio station, grabbing for food, your magazines, putting on your makeup, talking to the kids in the backseat all those things are taking your eyes off the road,” Bowman said. “And we want people to pay attention”
“The average text messages actually distract you for five seconds,” Sergeant Nick Darlington said. “If you’re traveling about 70 miles an hour, 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.”
Troopers and other law enforcement officials say they’re watching the roads closely for any signs of distracted driving, especially heading into the holiday weekend.
Distracted driving kills more than 3000 people every year, according to several national studies. Drivers who are caught not paying attention on Michigan roads could pay 100 dollars for a first offense, with higher fees for every future offense.