Randolph County Deputies Patrolling for Distracted Drivers

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With more and more electronic devices in people’s hands, it’s not hard to see someone driving with a phone to their ear or in their lap, not paying attention to the road. Davis & Elkins College Senior Shane Jones said he sees plenty of people who make other use of their time behind the wheel.

“Someone’s calling them or they’re trying to look at their phone to play music, even sometimes answering a text message. Even here on campus, I’ve seen before that students come close to being hit just because of people not paying attention,” Jones said.

With that in mind, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down this week with a focus on stopping distracted drivers behind the wheel. Chief Deputy Bradley Sharp said while they look for distracted drivers year-round, it’s not always the easiest thing to catch.

“Slower speed limits, it’s obviously going to be a little bit easier to pick up if somebody’s holding a cell phone. It also depends on which side they’re holding the cell phone, right or left, that can obstruct your view. It varies based on the speed limit and how they hold the device,” Sharp said.

As hard as it is to catch at slow speeds, it only gets more difficult as drivers get faster, and deputies have to thread a fine line between stopping suspicious drivers and stopping those driving as they should.

“Your speed of separation makes it very difficult to accurately see if they’re holding a cell phone or electronic device, and as eager as we are to enforce the law, we also don’t want to improperly stop someone for not using an electronic device,” said Sharp.

Jones said he’s glad to hear about the department’s focus, and hopes that they’ll get the message across to even more people.

“I think that, I hope that it makes people aware of you shouldn’t be texting and driving. It’s not worth killing someone or hurting someone over,” said Jones.

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