Police Officers Ride School Bus to Curb Distracted Driving in Moorhead

Over a four hour stretch, Moorhead Police made 75 traffic stops, 27 of which were for texting and driving

MOORHEAD, Minn. —¬†As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, several police officers from the Moorhead Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and the Minnesota State Highway Patrol could look down and see people plugging away on their phones.

“What we have today are nine chase vehicles along 8th Street, and we’re looking for those violations on the bus calling to those officers and they are stopping those vehicles and citing them appropriately,” said Lieutenant Deric Swenson of the Moorhead Police Department.

Over a four hour stretch, police made 75 traffic stops in Moorhead, 27 of which were for distracted driving.

The departments teamed up with Moorhead Area Public Schools since there are nearly 170 school bus passing violations this school year.

“The lights were flashing, the stop signs were out, and people still went around the school bus, so when we look at those types of situations, what we’re thinking is the fact that most people, if they were paying attention to the roadway, would stop for those school buses knowing that there would be children present in that area,” said Swenson.

By being on the bus, officers have a higher vantage point over the streets, meaning that they can see people on their phones while they’re on the road.

“We are able to view inside those windows of those vehicles. We can actually see those drivers and what they are doing. Most of the time, we can actually see their screens and the fact that they are not making a phone call or receiving a phone call. They’re checking text messages, checking emails,” said Swenson.

Swenson acknowledges that people agree that texting and driving is wrong, but those same people may still peek at their phones while driving.

“A lot of times those behaviors are not gonna change until someone’s been pulled over by the police and receives a citation,” said Swenson.

By patrolling the streets from a school bus, these officers hope that their eye in the sky could teach people to solely focus on the roads.

The three departments will have another “Busted by the Bus” ride along on the afternoon of April 20.

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