AllOnGeorgia previously reported that three area law enforcement agencies launched an initiative to crack down on distracted driving and following the success of the first morning, the Georgia State Patrol – Post 45, the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, and the Statesboro Police Department hosted a press event to offer more details.
With deputies, investigators, patrol officers, and troopers gathered behind them, Sheriff Noel Brown, Statesboro Police Chief Rob Bryan, and Georgia State Patrol Post Commander SFC Chris Rodewolt further explained the details of the new operation, results from Day 1, and long-term goals.
The initiative was spawned due to the astonishing statistics on Georgia roadway accidents in 2016. Rodewolt said in Bulloch, Candler and Evans counties alone, 70% of the traffic fatalities last year were a result of distracted driving or were “most likely related to distracted driving.”
“This is huge for us. It’s killing people. It’s not the DUIs like it used to be,” Rodewolt said. “It’s the people who are looking down, dialing numbers, playing radios, giving attention to car seats – it’s killing us. In [this] territory, it’s huge.”
Sheriff Brown said in an interview during the event, “It’s a known fact. Whether it’s texting, doing your makeup, catching a bottle of water, it goes on and on. I don’t know of anyone who is not guilty of it. But this isn’t about tickets or quotas. It’s about education and safety.”
Chief Bryan seconded the comments by both saying, “The goal today and everyday is for law enforcement agencies to get together and educate the public on how bad this epidemic is. We made a lot of contacts this morning and it was not all about simple citations.”
The operation Thursday morning yielded just 23 citations for distracted driving out of the 155 pull overs. 87 warnings were issued and the operation even resulted in two DUI arrests and two misdemeanor drug arrests.
29 tickets were issued for “other violations” not related to distracted driving, but 63 warnings were issued on the “other violations” as well.
All three agency leaders said they are pleased to see the increase in discussion of the issue on social media. “I want them to know what we’re doing. I want them to put the phones down,” Rodewolt said.
All three agencies are contributing equal resources and officers to the operation. Sheriff Brown said in a press release earlier in the day that the operation would be ongoing indefinitely.