ST. GEORGE — Heads Up, Thumbs Up is a campaign to end distracted driving in St. George. It provides statistics about distracted driving and a pledge to stop driving while distracted. St. George Police Sgt. Craig Harding has released the third quarterly report.
During this quarter of its current grant, which covered April, May and June, the police targeted specific high traffic areas with spotters calling out potential violations to staged officers who confirmed the violation and then made a traffic stop.
They also used roving two-man teams in other high traffic/crash areas. Drivers are now beginning to hold their hands down in their laps while they glance up and down, looking for police cars, so they utilize high profile vehicles — trucks, SUVs — to enable the officer to see into the driver compartments of passing vehicles.
They targeted several areas, including 100 South, Riverside Drive, St. George Boulevard, River Road and Bluff Street, with the following results:
- 27 shifts
- 141 stops
- Texting/distracted/careless, 3
- Moving violations, 5
- Nonmoving violations, 19 (also includes 4 impounds for no insurance)
- Texting/careless/distracted, 5
- Moving violations, 9
- Nonmoving violations, 28
Police utilized the Heads Up, Thumbs Up canopy and the street sandwich signs to let people know what they were doing with the static enforcement shifts.
There were briefings before each shift to define goals, answer any questions as to the “current” excuses and how the excuse fits into the interpretation of the texting laws.
Thirty banners, three different styles with the Heads Up, Thumbs Up theme and logo, have been purchased and placed up and down St. George Boulevard and Bluff Street. While some of these banners will be rotated with other banners advertising community events, many of them will remain up year-round.
A total of $6,144.01 went directly to officers doing the work as overtime.
“It is hard to calculate how many crashes were prevented by our enforcement and educational efforts,” Harding said. “Many people said things like, ‘I just need to put the phone down’ or ‘I know it’s not safe.'”
The campaign has one more quarter to go in this current grant, and it has been awarded the same grant for one more year, so these efforts will continue.