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Local 4 Defenders ride along with Troy police officer busting distracted drivers

Troy is hands-free city

TROY, Mich. – Local 4 Defender Karen Drew rode along with Troy police officers as they busted distracted drivers.

Our cameras were rolling as police pulled over multiple drivers breaking the law.

Most people have driven distracted, and residents in Troy are in danger of getting busted.

Troy is a hands-free city, meaning drivers aren't allowed to hold their phones.

READFamily fights for hands-free legislation in Michigan after son killed by distracted driver

Last year, Troy police handed out 564 distracted driving tickets and warnings. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so the Defenders went along to see the crackdown firsthand.

Distracted drivers can be seen talking, texting, using a GPS, eating, doing makeup and more.

Troy police Officer Milt Stansbury said he's seen it all during his 27 years doing traffic patrol in Troy.

"We don't, as a society, take driving seriously enough," Stansbury said.

"Are there times of the day when you see more distracted drivers?" Karen asked.

"When there's heavier traffic, because when traffic slows down, then we have more drivers on the road," Stansbury said. "That's when they tend to pick up their phone."

Monday mornings are also prime times for distracted drivers, he said.

"People are back to work on Monday and they probably have a lot on their mind about what they didn't get done Friday when they left early," Stansbury said.

One vehicle pulled over by Troy police was a white van. It only took minutes to spot the van, and the driver was on his phone.

"Were you on an important call or something?" Stansbury asked.

The driver said he didn't know about Troy's hands-free laws.

"He's got a painting crew and checking on the job," Stansbury said.

That wasn't an excuse, Stansbury said, so the driver was busted.

Back on the road, Stansbury spotted the driver of a Land Rover on the phone at an intersection. Drivers stopped at red lights still can't use their phones.

"Well, that gets drivers irritated when they back up traffic, when they are sitting at a light waiting to go, and of course, the person up front there is doing whatever they are doing," Stansbury said.

Minutes later, Stansbury pulled over a blue car, the driver of which was on her phone.

Another woman, driving a minivan, was pulled over for being on her phone, as well as the driver of a white Jeep.

"If you choose to do anything in your car other than driving, anything, you're dividing your attention and it's your choice to, then you are -- you're putting you and other people at risk," Stansbury said.

He said he handles a couple hundred crashes a year and knows many of them are due to distracted driving.

"It is hard to forget when there are multiple casualties at a scene," Stansbury said. "It's pretty gruesome. That sticks in your mind."

A texting-and-driving ticket in Troy costs $200.

Here are some distracted driving stats from the last five years:

Troy police officials said it's hard to know an accurate number of crashes involving distracted driving because there's a box to check on accident forms that's often overlooked.

Click here for more information visit The Keifer Foundation's website.

Click here to learn more about #HandsFreeMichigan here.


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