Johnson City police applying for grant to help crackdown on distracted drivers

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City police say crashes caused by distracted driving are on the rise and they’re now hoping to crack down on offenders through a new grant.

In 2016, over 700 crashes involved distracting driving, that’s higher than 2015 as well as 2014. The biggest problems are texting and talking on the phone behind the wheel.

Thursday night, Johnson City commissioners voted to allow the police department to apply for a nearly $20,000 grant through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

The grant would fund overtime to officers specifically on the lookout for distracted driving as well as purchase five radar guns to catch speeders.

Major Debbie Botelho with JCPD said the time to act is now.

“You’re not only taking your life in your hands, by texting and driving and veering into another lane and causing an accident, but you’re also taking other people’s lives, family’s lives in danger,” Major Botelho said.

Officers will also be on the lookout for proper seatbelt usage through this grant. The grant application is due March 31.

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