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Officers in Utah County crack down on distracted driving

HIGHLAND — Dozens of drivers in northern Utah County are learning the hard way to keep their eyes on the road.  Several different law enforcement agencies teamed up to crack down on distracted drivers.

Paul Dawson lives on the corner of North County Boulevard and Canyon View Drive.  He says he’s seen a lot of crashes caused by either speed or distracted driving.

“I’ve seen rear-enders, for the most part. During school hours, it’s really bad,” Dawson says.

His neighborhood was just one of the areas that were closely watched by officers from Lone Peak, American Fork and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.  These agencies teamed up to find people who were either manipulating their handheld devices or who weren’t paying attention while behind the wheel.

“Distracted driving would consist of (things like) doing your makeup, reading while you’re driving or trying to manipulate something on the passenger’s seat that’s taking your attention off the road,” according to Lone Peak Police Chief Brian Gwilliam.

It didn’t take long for officers to find the people they were looking for.  Gwilliam says in just the first couple of hours, “We probably made, I’m guessing, 30 to 45 traffic stops, with probably a three to one of warnings v. citations.”

At the end of the day, the 12 officers had made 74 traffic stops and issued 27 citations, mostly for texting while driving.  They also made one arrest from an outstanding warrant.

Today, the officers focused on streets in Highland and American Fork, but, Gwilliam says they’re planning more crackdowns for other parts of the county.