The Fort Campbell Installation Provost Marshal Office is cracking down on distracted driving with a zero-tolerance initiative through traffic stops and posted reminders.
The initiative kicked off this week and will be in effect until December encouraging drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
Although there has not been an increase in distracted driving, it remains a very prevalent infraction on the installation, said Lt. Nicholas Pietila, traffic supervisor, traffic management and collision investigations division, Installation Provost Marshal Office. “We like to remind drivers once or twice a year with a campaign of information, education and enforcement. Distracted driving is prevalent, and we do see it.”
Pietila said common traffic violations include speeding, failure to stop at traffic control devices, not wearing a seatbelt and driving while distracted by a mobile device, such as a cellphone.
“We want the community to remember to be cognizant while driving and talking and texting on cellphones on post,” he said. “We want to see voluntary compliance, which is why we put out articles, message boards across the installation, and by conducting more traffic stops when we see violators.”
The Provost Marshal Office will rotate reminders on message boards across the installation that include “Stay off your phone until you get home” and slogans from Hands-Free Tennessee – “If you’re texting, you’re not driving” and “One text or call could wreck it all.”
The Installation Provost Marshal Office campaign follows Tennessee’s hands-free law that went into effect on July 1, 2019, Pietila said. The law makes it illegal to hold your cellphone while driving.
“As an individual who covers all of the collisions on post, in some form or another, distracted driving is clearly one of the most common contributing factors to a majority of the collisions on post,” he said. “It should be hands-free or not at all. Quite a few phones have settings where it will send texts or calls to voicemail or send an automatic response when driving. Using Bluetooth on your phone through your car speakers can also be helpful.”
Drivers pulled over on the installation for distracted driving could be ticketed up to $60, Pietila said. Repeat offenders could be barred from coming on to the installation if deemed appropriate.
Rear-end collisions can happen quickly when a driver is distracted by a cellphone, GPS or even the radio, he said.
Drivers should think of the Fort Campbell community before driving distracted, he said.
“It’s your responsibility to drive a vehicle safely,” Pietila said. “You aren’t the only person on the road when you’re driving through a community. When someone in the community is driving distracted, he or she puts everyone at risk. You need to focus on the most important task on the road, which is driving and keeping everyone around you safe.”