We've all seen the campaigns about how texting and driving is driving distracted. But there's a different kind of distracted driving that's just as dangerous.
About 30,000 cars a day travel along U.S. Hwy. 61 in Hannibal. And the Hannibal police department keeps an eye on those drivers who run red lights at four intersections along highway 61.
That eye is in the form of the department's red light cams and believe it or not, the department sees plenty of distracted drivers who blow right through a red light.
"The sergeant that reviews our red light camera videos says approximately 25% of the videos she reviews are dealing with distracted driving," Lt. John Zerbonia with the Hannibal Police Department said.
Lt. John Zerbonia compiled a series of photos to show just how many people were either talking on a cell phone, or being distracted when they were caught running a red light. The photos speak for themselves. But you'll be surprised to learn what else goes on inside a car.
"The majority of course are cell phone usage, texting and mainly speaking on the phone," Lt. Zerbonia said. "But there' also eating, applying makeup, passenger distraction things of that nature."
So after hearing from Lt. Zerbonia, we went to two intersections along Highway 61 to see for ourselves and it wasn't just a few minutes after we set up that we plainly saw people either texting or checking their phone or having a conversation. It's something that concerns police, but right now there aren't any laws on the books in the Tri State area that ban talking on a cell phone while driving.
"The danger is that it takes your eyes off the road, it takes your hands off the wheel and it takes your mind off of what you should be doing, which is driving," Lt. Zerbonia said.
According to Lt. Zerbonia, 16 percent of all the fatal car crashes in the U.S. were related to distracted driving and he hopes that people get the message about the dangers of distracted driving and that they don't become a part of the 16 percent.
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