‘Operation Ghost Rider’ Aims To Reduce Distracted Drivers
The Michigan State Police (MSP) has started the new “Operation Ghost Rider” initiative. This is a plan to tackle distracted driving across Metro Detroit. According to a press release from the Troy nonprofit Transportation Improvement Association, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is funding the effort in recognition of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“On average, a driver takes their eyes off the road for 5 seconds to send or read a text,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “At 55 mph, that’s equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
They will use their increased police presence to reduce the number of motorists who are distracted while driving. In coordination with MSP and several local agencies across Metro Detroit, they aim to reduce deaths and injuries related to distracted driving. Police will use unmarked police vehicles during Operation Ghost Ride to spot distracted drivers.
“Personal accountability will help decrease distracted driving.”
“Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. As drivers, we must do better,” said F/Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police. “We will continue to educate motorists and hope that personal accountability will help decrease distracted driving. But we also know enforcement is key.”
If they spot someone not obeying the law, they will radio ahead to a fully marked police vehicle for the traffic stop.
When it comes to citations, there will be $100 tickets handed out for anyone caught on their phones while driving. There will also be a $200 fine for each additional offense.
Enacted in 2010, Michigan’s distracted driving law says for first-time violators are fined $100, while $200 penalties are levied for subsequent offenders.
In addition to MSP, other participating agencies include police departments in Auburn Hills, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, Taylor, and Utica, along with sheriffs offices in Oakland and Macomb County.
“Distracted driving continues to be a top traffic safety concern on our roads,” said Jim Santilli, CEO of TIA and chairman of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commissions’ Distracted Driving Action Team. “We can save lives by simply keeping our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times. We hope Operation Ghost Rider will further educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.”