Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Distracted drivers target of new campaign

The Rutland County Sheriff's Department is stepping up patrols to reduce accidents. The department recently received $22,000 from the Governor's Highway Safety Program to pay for additional enforcement – especially against impaired drivers. While drunken drivers and tired motorists fall under that heading, Sheriff Stephen Benard singled out motorists conversing or texting on their cell phones. Using data gathered by the state, Benard and Sheriff's Department Lt. Craig Hanson said they believes that "distracted driving" has changed the time when most accidents happen from late night and early morning hours on weekends to the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on most weekdays. The sheriff believes the change is due to distracted drivers. On a recent trip from Colorado, the sheriff said he saw bigrigs swerving on the highways, and in every case, the driver was holding a cell phone.