4/8/21 – U Text U Drive U Pay Enforcement

Kalamazoo Public Safety. Photo courtesy of the KPS. April 8, 2021.

Kalamazoo Police will join other law enforcement in the U Text, U Drive, U Pay enforcement program. 

They’ll be increasing enforcement and cracking down on texting while driving.  “Texting and other forms of distracted driving are increasing habits that put everyone at risk,” said Matt Huber, Assistant Chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. “We want motorists to focus on driving, with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.” 

According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor-vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%. NHTSA also reported that the number of deaths linked to driver distraction was 3,142 nationwide, or almost 9% of all fatalities in 2019. This represents a 10% increase over the year 2018, or 284 more fatalities. The distraction figure was the largest increase in causes of traffic deaths reported for 2019.

Millennials and Gen Z are the most distracted drivers, often using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel. According to NHTSA research from 2017, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. In 2019, 9% of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crash.