AUSTIN—Austin police are using an aggressive and stealthy campaign to bring down the number of distracted drivers on the road.
The campaign takes a team effort between police officers. Some riding a vacant Capital Metro bus, and other officers stationed at different parts of the interstate.
“Over 60 percent of people will admit to talking on the phone at some point while they’re driving their car. And 35 percent to 40 percent will admit to texting while driving” said Sgt. Michael Barger of the Austin Police Department.
They’re not going easy, either.
“If they’re using it or holding it in their hand, manipulating it, talking on the phone—then it’s a violation of the city ordinance,” said Barger.
If they spot someone on the road who isn’t focusing solely on driving, a citation is issued.
“They start out at $220 and go up from there to as much as $500,” said Barger.
The Austin Prosecutor's Office currently has a deferral agreement which allows some cited drivers to have a reduced fine. Purchasing a hands-free device will knock off a portion of the court costs from the total.
Police say it's best to just avoid texting and driving altogether. For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/handsfree