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MJPD cracks down on texting drivers

Laurie Everett • Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Mt. Juliet officers are cracking down on distracted drivers who might take their eyes off the road to tweet.

"We have a concerted effort to enforce the law that says you can't text while driving," said Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick. "If they do they are breaking the law and will be cited."

Tennessee passed a law in 2012 that mandated it was against the law to text while drive. Hambrick said statistics show many accidents are caused when texting takes priority over keeping eyes on the road. 

"We want drivers, especially our young drivers who text constantly, to be safe and aware," said Hambrick.

Last week, officers were in unmarked cars scouring Mt. Juliet streets looking for texting drivers. According to Sgt. Tyler Chandler, seven drivers were cited within the first hour. The fine is $25. 

Hambrick said the saturation is not entrapment, which is what some citizens call it.

"I drive in an unmarked car and pull people over," he said. "Because I'm in an unmarked car doesn't negate the fact they were breaking the law."

Wilson County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Ray Justice agreed.

"Entrapment is when an agency creates an incident where a person is pushed by the officer to take part in illegal activity," said Justice. 

He said cracking down on driving texters goes hand-in-hand with his department's Drive Straight Campaign. 

"We are trying to keep the drivers in Mt. Juliet safe," said Hambrick.

The sting involves two officers in an unmarked car and they must see the texting take place. 

Hambrick said drivers need to be aware they will monitor for texting drivers periodically, especial at the beginning of the school year. 

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