West Des Moines Police Cracking Down on Distracted Driving

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - There's a lot to be distracted by when you're behind the wheel of a car, but police say nothing is quite as dangerous as looking down at that screen.

"Statewide, nationwide, the amount of distracted driving is going up, the amount of crashes that are happening because of distracted driving is going up, the amount of injuries subsequently, are going up," said Sgt. Jason Bryan with West Des Moines PD.

While those accidents are going up, Sgt. Bryan's department is cracking down on distracted driving.

"It's an awareness thing, to let people know - the kids will be out of school, they'll be driving to their summer jobs and whatnot, and it's just a good time to really focus on it, for us," he said.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, police in West Des Moines will be focusing on what you're focused on while in the cockpit; distracted driving includes texting or simply playing with your phone while behind the wheel.

"There's certain days during the month where we have a group of officers doing special traffic projects; during the course of the year, we do different things," Sgt. Bryan said. "We've done a project with railroad crossings, we've done seat-belt projects. Well, during the summer, we're going to focus on distracted driving."

It might not be easy to spot a texter-and-driver, unless you know what to look for; luckily for West Des Moines Police, Sgt. Bryan says the signs come in the form of reckless driving.

"When people are using their phones and texting and whatnot, usually they're committing another offense," he said. "Maybe they're speeding, because they're not necessarily paying too much attention to how fast they're going. A lot of times, they're not staying in their lane."

Distracted driving is a secondary offense in Iowa; that means an officer can't pull you over specifically for texting while driving. But if you're speeding, swerving, or forgetting to stop - it'll cost you extra if that phone in your lap had anything to do with it.

"Just put it away. You know, it's too - when it's right there in your lap, or right there on the console, and it's buzzing and people are sending you text messages and whatnot, it's too easy to look down and go, 'I'm just going to glance at it,' or, 'I'm just going to look,'" he said.


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