Undercover Officers Patrol Streets for Distracted Drivers

Undercover Officers Patrol Streets 
for Distracted Drivers

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Meridian Township Police officers will be patrolling the streets without uniforms and in unmarked cars to stop distracted drivers.

This approach is being taken to encourage drivers to think twice before doing any activity that could distract them behind the wheel for fear that an officer may be in the car next to them.

"The purpose of this initiative is not to write tickets, it is to encourage drivers to stop doing the things that are distracting behind the wheel," said Lieutenant Ken Plaga, Meridian Township Police Department. "You never know who's driving next to you, it could be an officer."

The unmarked vehicles with officers dressed in civilian clothes are known as the "spotter" who will observe the violation. They then call a uniform officer in a patrol car to make the traffic stop.

"This is a prevalent problem, distracted driving is the new leading cause of traffic accidents," said Plaga.

In 2012, more than 3,000 people were killed in the United States in accidents involving a distracted driver. In 2013, a total of 689 crashes occurred in Michigan where a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist was using a cell phone.

"Everyone I've talked to has a story of witnessing a distracted driver, we have all seen it," said Plaga.

Distracted driving could be anything that diverts the drivers attention from the road including sending and reading text messages, reading a book or newspaper, putting on make-up, looking at a navigation device, etc.

Often times, these distractions lead to other violations including improper lane usage, running red lights, speeding, or accidents.

The Police Department have already done two enforcement periods and will continue doing them to educate the public on this safe driving initiative.

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