Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Focusing On Distracted Drivers

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(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.


  • jim (@firewop)

    now if we can just get the cops to stop we’ll be headed in the right direction, i see them all the time doing it in fact today on I40 i saw a state trooper doing it

  • John Snow

    Thank you for your direction in this matter. I do a lot of walking for exercise and distracted drivers I have the most problems with. I never know if they see me or not.

  • BamBam84

    Cell phones are distracting drivers. Yet cops use cell phones, walkies, radios, laptops, dash cams, dashboard computers, light bars, pistols, and God knows what else. I guess it’s OK because THEY have “training.”
    HOW many mpd officers alone have been in traffic incidents in the last year? Who are they to judge?

  • Carol Marshall

    DWOO – Driving While Otherwise Occupied – was the name given by celebrated Commercial Appeal Columnist, Lydell Sims, in the 1960’s for such a condition as distracted drivers. He got it – long before cell phones! His columns were great! We did not know how truly brilliant he was…we just knew him for his columns and his humor. Research shows what a true mentor and friend he was to many in his industry.

  • Paul Hines

    Distracted Driving; lets see is that where a Memphis cop screams down the street at 90+ MPH crashes into a car carrying a family and kills several of them? Or did I miss something in the translation?

    • BroJo

      That is one of many examples…like the kid who rear-ended a bus, or the people that have on many times tried to run me off the road because of their stupid phones or are they just picking the lint out of their belly buttons?

  • Thomas H. Evans

    i don’t know about you, but doesn’t it seem a little strange to you that all of a sudden this is a concern of the Sheriff when this takes place each and everyday throughout our city. All of a sudden the “Mayor” wants to clean up the neighborhoods, the”D.A.” wants to clean up crime, and the “Sheriff” wants to clean up young people talking and texting on their phones. It’s amazing what “Election Time” will do to those in office who are fighting to keep a job they have been absent in until now. Since we seem to have as many police officers involved in crashes as regular citizens, could it be that they also need checking; I say yes. I am all for the idea, believe me, but lets make sure we are holding everyone to the same standard, including police officers. I have no problem with police using their car radios or their shoulder radios, but with computers and cell phones in the cars, they are distracted as much as anyone.

    • BroJo

      We have had an unenforced law on the books for a while. Personally I think we should be able to shoot them in “self defense”.

  • Terrie

    I don’t think is safe for ANY IDIOT to drive while texting or talking with a cell phone. A Cop however, will have a bit more training on the matter. You get these dumbarses that do good TO drive a car, slap a phone in there hand and boom…a disaster waiting to happen. So many times just while driving home I see some idiot texting, driving crazy etc.
    WARNING: IF someone hits me, and its their fault due to being on the cell phone……….I will owe the underwear they are wearing!! I’ll take the house, the car, the savings, the cell phones, the shoes they have on their feet and fight them in court for every bit of it! Anyone stupid enough to do this, AND cause an accident or harm to anyone, are too stupid to own anything!
    So think about that the next time you think you are a good enough driver to text or talk while driving……………………..

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