Brownsville Police Using Buses to Spot Distracted Drivers
BROWNSVILLE – Police in Brownsville are working to put a stop to texting and driving by utilizing unlikely resources.
The B Metro Public Transportation System gets thousands of people to their destinations in Brownsville. But local police are going to take a ride on the bus for a sting operation.
“If they are using the device then, while they are operating the vehicle, then that will be a violation,” Brownsville Police Officer Jose Loredo said.
Loredo took part in the operation to track drivers that are using their cell phones while driving.
As per a city ordinance passed in 2011, Loredo said any kind of use of a mobile device, except talking, is a violation.
During the operation, he spots the violators from the bus and calls in his fellow officers with the information on the driver and vehicle.
Motorcycle officers move in to make the traffic stop and cite the drivers.
One violator spoke to CHANNEL 5 NEWS.
Reporter: What did they tell you?
Freddy Santana: That why was I looking at my phone.
Reporter: And were you?
Freddy Santana: Yeah, I was, I’m not going to lie. I’m over here trying to find my way around. I’m not from Brownsville.
He said he was using his GPS when police pulled him over. Loredo said that too is off limits.
“It is very important that you keep your eyes on the road and not on your phone or anything that could be distracting. So you can prevent yourself from being either in an accident or causing an accident yourself,” Loredo said.
Brownsville Police Spokesman Investigators J.J. Trevino said there’s been an increase in accidents due to distracted driving. Police are aiming to be more aggressive in enforcing the ordinance.
In the past two months, Trevino added, officers on city buses and those on patrol have given out close to 200 citations.
“The word is spreading and it’s something good, because it will only make it safer for everybody who is on the roadway,” Loredo said.
He said officers have to witness the violation in progress in order to cite someone. If someone is caught and cited, it could cost up to $250.
This is the third week that Brownsville police are focusing on the issue. Police said a violation of ordinance 98-14 include:
- Scrolling through social media on your device
- Watching videos
- Using it while stopped at a red light
- Taking selfies.
- Only holding your phone for a conversation is allowed. Still, they recommend setting up the hands-free features if your vehicle has them available.