Operation Incognito: Concerned drivers help THP troopers spot driving violations
Dozens of drivers were pulled over on Tuesday when they least expected it.
Tennessee troopers used a Greyhound bus to spot everything from seat belt violations to texting and driving.
"Operation Incognito" rolled out in five Tennessee cities.
Channel 3 rode along for the undercover operation that law enforcement hopes will get the attention of distracted drivers.
From Cummings Highway to Old Lee Highway, the bus traveled 17 miles across the city of Chattanooga.
The bus looks like any other but is carrying half a dozen law enforcement officers that all have one goal.
“Distracted driving is not just a young person's problem,” said Lt. John Harmon. “Distracted driving is everyone's problem.”
Lt. John Harmon was on board the bus, spotting traffic violations on the road. He would then radio officers in patrol cars to make the stops. Some of those stops resulted in tickets, while other drivers were warned.
“We have got to get back to the basics of driving,” said Lt. Harmon. “Our hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
"Operation Incognito" launched in Chattanooga, Nashville, Kingsport, Memphis, and Knoxville.
It is a one-day operation to cut down on distracted driving, which is the second cause of crashes across the state, only behind texting and driving.
Michelle Horton knows all too well how a serious crash can impact a family. She witnessed a crash 15 years ago and now advocates for safe driving.
“That is someone's mother; that is someone's child; that is someone's relative that could actually be hurt because we are not practicing safety on the highway,” said Horton.
It wasn't just distracted driving we observed while on board. Seat belt violations were common.
“I was actually surprised today on the bus that there were as many people not wearing their seat belts,” said Horton. “I figured there would be a lot more people texting and driving.”
Erlanger Trauma Surgeon, Doctor Darien Hunt, was also on board. He treats injuries in the emergency room, where the staff has seen about 2,000 serious injuries connected to car crashes.
“We would like to see that number decrease every year, so that we're not seeing those people whose lives are altered for things that could be prevented," said Hunt.
"Operation Incognito" was also an opportunity for those on board to train on how to spot distracted driving.
The one-day operation has wrapped up, but the highway patrol says this is just one of many programs to cut down on distracted driving.
Troopers also used this opportunity to warn drivers about the Move Over Law.
READ MORE | TN's Move Over law changing on July 1
The law requires drivers to move over to the next lane if crews are working on the highway.
Officials hope to reduce the number of injuries or even death while people are working.