Police on lookout for distracted drivers on Labor Day weekend

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Veronica Jackson wants nothing more than to make it safely to her holiday destination in Winchester.

“Sometimes I wish cell phones and texting devices never came out,” said Jackson. “I have to really pay attention to the road.”

The Portsmouth native is not concerned about her driving ability, but is worried about people not paying attention driving.

“It is ignorance. That’s what it is,” says Jackson. “I have to keep a watchful eye out for myself as well as the other driver. It is very concerning.”

State and local police are looking for distracted drivers this Labor Day.

“It is very serious,” says Virginia State Trooper Mitchell Smith. “We’ve increased patrols and we have put more troopers on the road.”

Texting while driving is now listed as a primary offense which means a trooper or officer can pull you over if you text behind the wheel.

Christy Rutledge, a mother of two, who is traveling from Petersburg to her home in Kentucky, finds the infraction offensive.

“It is not that safe,” says Rutledge. “It is very concerning when you see somebody wheezing and you pull up next to them and they’re on their phone.”

Another big worry on the roads this holiday is drunk driving. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Labor Day consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous and deadly.

“Every time a drunk driver gets out there you’re putting a lot of people in jeopardy,” says Chris Konshack with MADD. “Drunk driving is completely preventable. People just have to make better decisions.”

Virginia State Police Sgt. Mitchell Smith says his force has zero tolerance for anyone driving under the influence. They are on the lookout for reckless drivers and distracted drivers.

Driver Veronica Jackson wants to deliver a message of her own to lawbreakers this Labor Day: pay attention.

“Wait until where ever you are going to do what you need to do. Give the other drivers on the highway respect and courtesy,” says Veronica.

Last year according to MADD, 200 people died in drink driving crashes in Va. As for texting and driving, the first offense is $125. The second offense is $250. The offense can also be tied to reckless driving.



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