It was a busy afternoon for Bend police officers Thursday as they wrote traffic tickets for drivers who were distracted while driving.
NewsChannel 21’s Pedro Quintana rode along with Lt. Clint Burleigh as his traffic team was assigned to the busy intersection of Southeast Ninth Street and Wilson Avenue.
Burleigh himself handed out four tickets in just an hour at that intersection. Others worked the intersection of Southwest Simpson Avenue and Columbia Street.
According to the police, officers made 73 stops, mostly for drivers using their cellphones while driving.
36 drivers were issued citations for driving while operating their cellphone. 5 drivers were issued citations for other violations 11 drivers were issued warnings for cell phone usage. 5 drivers were issued warnings for other violations.
Nine officers were involved in the detail at some point during the three-hour period.
Burleigh said Thursday’s goal was about traffic safety and to educate the community about how dangerous distracted driving can be.
“We need to spread the word as a community that this is something that is dangerous, and we want to make sure we save lives, and to save the people that are driving as well,” Burleigh said.
The statistics show distracted driving plays a role in fatal car crashes all too often, Burleigh said.
The CDC shows distracted driving deaths are steadily increasing from 2010 (3092 deaths) to 2015 (3477 deaths).
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration describes tasks that distract drivers can range from visual tasks (looking away from the roadway), manual tasks (taking your hands off the steering wheel to do something) and cognitive tasks (not focusing on the roadway and thinking about something other than driving). All three of these tasks are used when looking at your cellphone.