(Shelby County) The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on distracted drivers.
Texting and driving is now the number one killer on roads nationwide, surpassing drunk driving crashes.
Because of this, the office rebranded its Metro DUI unit and is now calling it RIDD (Reduce Impaired and Distracted Driving).
Picking up your phone to answer a text message may not seem so bad.
However, if you do it behind the wheel, law enforcement said in a press conference Monday it can be just as deadly as driving drunk.
Sheriff Bill Oldham explained, “We’re seeing a trend throughout the nation of impaired driving being second and distracted driving moving ahead as the cause of those types of accidents.”
That is why his office decided to rebrand and redirect their unit.
Distracted driving is now considered the number one cause of accidents involving teens, and phones are not the only problem on the road.
When most people think about distracted driving, they think about cellphones.
While deputies said they can indeed be dangerous, anything that takes your eyes off the road like grabbing a bite to eat or doing your makeup can be just as deadly.
As Sheriff Oldham noted, a crash can happen in the blink of an eye.
“When you send or receive a text message while you’re driving, the average is 4.6 seconds of not looking at what you’re doing. That allows a vehicle going 55 miles per hour to go 300 feet, the length of a football field.”
Deputies hope the newly renamed unit will get the message through – answer a text message on the road, and it could be the last you ever send.
There will be 15 deputies in the unit. No additional ones were added from the Metro DUI unit – it was simply rebranded and redirected.