MHP goes 'undercover' in search of distracted drivers - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MHP goes 'undercover' in search of distracted drivers

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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OXFORD, Miss. (FOX13) -

They'll see you, before you see them.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is going "undercover," so to speak to catch distracted drivers.

State troopers have launched a new campaign called "Pay Attention or Pay a Fine" to educate drivers against distracted driving.

"I think, you know, distracted driving is a huge issue in today's world and unfortunately it's taking lives, so we sat down and we talked with administration and we came up with a plan," said MHP Lt. John Poulos.

The new plan is going to incorporate marked MHP patrol cruisers with unmarked cruisers.

"We're going to have troopers in unmarked cars observing traffic," Lt. Poulos said. "If they see a driver that is distracted in any form or fashion inside that car they would cause them to drive in a careless or wreckless manner, because we do have those laws in place in the State of Mississippi, we can stop the car. Again this is not going to be a huge citation writing campaign. Educating, that's what this is about."
 
Faced with a dwindling number of troopers because the state hasn't funded a state highway patrol school in a few years, MHP only currently has 330 troopers on the roadway. Some 100 troopers are eligible for retirement soon. This new campaign is a way for the state patrol to reach drivers with a limited staff.

"Well, we are dealing with a severe manpower issue statewide," Lt. Poulos said. "We are in a situation where we have troopers that are working two to three counties, and the problem that we are incurring is that if you have a person in an accident, and a person is involved, it takes a trooper longer to respond sometimes. Sometimes they have to respond two counties over. That's not acceptable."

The last time the Mississippi Highway Patrol had a school was in 2011. Lt. Poulos said it is a must do at this point because of the number of troopers who will be eligible for retirement by December.

 

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