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How riding shotgun is helping the THP crack down on distracted driving

There is no question that one of the single biggest dangers on the roads and highways here in the U.S. is distracted driving. Indeed, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that 431,000 people were injured and another 3,179 were killed in 2014 alone in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers.

In case you're tempted to think that this disturbing phenomenon is somehow confined to more populous areas of the country, consider that preliminary statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reveal that there have been close to 180,000 distracted driver crashes in the Volunteer State over the last decade.

Given staggering numbers like these, the question arises as to what, if anything, can be done by law enforcement officials to crack down on this dangerous practice and, by extension, keep motorists safe.

Interestingly enough, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has recently been trying out a new, if somewhat unusual approach, to cracking down on smartphone scofflaws: unmarked semi trucks.

Over the last few months, troopers across the state have been riding in the passenger seat of trucks, using the high vantage point to identify distracted drivers and radio their positions to marked squad cars located nearby. These squad cars, in turn, pull over the offending motorist and issue a citation for violating the due care law, a class C misdemeanor.

Troopers say this unorthodox enforcement strategy is working, as hundreds of traffic violations have been written. However, they indicate that the goal isn't to fill the state's coffers or meet ticket quotas, but rather to change behavior, such that motorists just don't put their smartphones down when they see law enforcement, but rather all the time.

Here's hoping these efforts continue to be successful ...

If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who help you secure justice for the harm endured.

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Mr. McKellar was voted by his peers as a “Top Attorney” by Knoxville’s CityView magazine in its 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. McKellar was selected as a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the National Trial Lawyers.

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