WAMU 88.5 : News

Fairfax Cracks Down On Distracted Driving

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Number of summons issued from 2005 to 2010 in Fairfax County.
Connection Newspaper
Number of summons issued from 2005 to 2010 in Fairfax County.

As smart phones have become increasingly popular, Fairfax cops say, people have been engaged in dumb driving. And police are tackling the habit -- with tickets.

Fairfax Police Captain Susan Culin says the problem isn't just texting or chatting on the phone.

"Eating, putting on makeup, shaving -- you know, we've seen it all," she says.

Now, her officers are cracking down. The number of tickets written for failure to pay full time and attention to the road has increased from 2,000 to 8,000 in the last five years, a period of time when that charge has actually decreased in Alexandria and Arlington.

Culin says Fairfax is intentionally going after suspicious behavior, such as "[crossing] the double-solid line or coming out of the lane, braking inappropriately, sitting still at the stoplight when the light had turned green."

It's a campaign that's paying off for Fairfax County, which has seen a 45 percent decrease in fatal crashes and a 42 percent decrease in all crashes.

Michael Pope also reports for Northern Virginia's Connection Newspapers.

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