Georgia Southern Public Safety to crack down on distracted driving

Matthew Enfinger


On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 24, the Bulloch County’s Sheriff’s Office reported more than 125 traffic stops, according to All on Georgia.

The increased traffic stops were a collaboration between the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol Post 45 and Statesboro Police Department to implement the newly-launched “Distracted Driving Awareness Initiative.”

According to the Statesboro Herald, citations issued Thursday were for failure of driver to exercise due care.

Although Georgia Southern Public Safety was not involved in the more than 125 traffic stops, Laura McCullough, GS police chief, believes distracted driving is an issue on the Georgia Southern University campus and intends to place more focus on distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving includes:

  • Texting

  • Using a cell phone or smartphone

  • Eating and drinking

  • Talking to passengers

  • Grooming

  • Reading, including maps

  • Using a navigation system

  • Watching a video

  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player

How do police determine if a driver was distracted?

When searching for distracted drivers, McCullough said, “most officers are going to look for some sort of erratic driving.”

This includes things such as driving at varied speeds, stopping in unnecessary areas and drivers that are unable to maintain their lane.

Are Police officers able to ask for your cell phone?

One area of concern among drivers has been police officers’ ability to ask for the drivers phone to determine if the driver was recently texting or talking on the phone.

Vontavious Thurmond, junior music education major, said officers asking for a driver’s cell phone is an invasion of “personal business.”

McCullough stated that drivers are allowed to say no to officers requests for cell phones.

“I could see where an officer may… go ahead and get a warrant for it because maybe you were involved in a serious accident where someone was injured or killed. Then they may want that for evidence if they feel that was the cause of your accident,” McCullough said.

“I think it is kind of a big problem,” Briana White, sophomore pre-nursing major, said. “There’s a lot of times when I’ve been driving behind somebody, and they’re texting.”

McCullough said this will be an ongoing initiative, unlike Operation Rolling Thunder.

As written in the Statesboro Herald, the citations issued Thursday were for failure of “driver to exercise due care,” and fines for Statesboro municipal court are $162…state court fines may vary.

McCullough advises drivers to pull over and come to a complete stop before engaging in any activity that will distract them from driving.