It was just one entry buried in the Newton police reports from April 9, but it highlights an increasing problem on roadways — distracted driving.
The report reads: “100 block North Walnut, car rear-ended another vehicle that was stopped in traffic, while the driver was reading a text message.”
Local law enforcement officers can provide other examples of incidents caused Local law enforcement would like to remind drivers of the importance of always keeping their eyes — and their minds — on the road.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton believes the most dangerous driving distraction is cell phones. While this includes texting while driving — which is a ticketable offense — Walton said any kind of cell phone use can be dangerous.
Even if they are using a hands-free device, people can become so caught up in a conversation they may not be paying attention to the road. This can lead to them running a red light or hitting another car.
“They tend to be very distracted with the conversation they’re having,” he said.
Newton police officer Chad Gay, who works as a school resource officer at Newton High School, said cell phones can be even more dangerous for younger drivers.
He frequently observes cell phone usage by student drivers at the high school.
“They’re driving out of the parking lot on their cell phones,” he said. “It’s an almost immediate reaction to leaving Newton High School.”
A teenager’s lack of driving experience can make behaviors such as talking on a cell phone or texting while driving even riskier.
“I think it just really ups the danger,” he said.