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Benton Police Department will join multiple Arkansas law enforcement agencies and agencies across the nation April 5-12 for U Drive. U Text. U Pay, an enforcement operation aimed at reducing distracted driving. The effort is led by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Between 2012 and 2019, NHTSA reported 26,004 motor vehicle crash deaths that involved distracted drivers. In 2019, nine percent of all traffic fatalities were linked to distracted driving, a 10 percent increase over the previous year and the largest increase among contributing factors reported.

“Distracted driving is one of those known dangers that, for unknown reasons, people continue to take their chances on,” said BNPD Lt. Don Robertson. “It’s a trend that we’d all like to see change, and it’s going to take everyone’s cooperation for that to happen. This program is just one way to bring attention to an ever-growing problem. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that our daily decisions can have major impacts on our own lives as well as the lives of others.”

Whether it takes using your device’s “Do not disturb” function while driving or even designating a passenger as being in charge of your messages while you drive, drivers are urged to do whatever it takes to resist the temptation to text or scroll while driving.

“Not only is it extremely dangerous,” said Robertson. “It’s illegal.”

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