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St. George police posting photos of texting drivers in safety campaign

The St. George Police Department has begun taking pictures of distracted drivers and posting them on its Facebook page. It's part of a Heads Up Thumbs Up campaign to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
The St. George Police Department has begun taking pictures of distracted drivers and posting them on its Facebook page. It's part of a Heads Up Thumbs Up campaign to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
St. George Police Department

ST. GEORGE — St. George police want to reduce distracted driving, so officers are taking pictures of drivers texting and posting them on the department's Facebook page.

It’s part of an education campaign called Heads Up Thumps Up. As part of the campaign, officers park at various locations and take pictures of texting drivers as they pass by.

"It's actually been easy to get these pictures. It's far too common," Sgt. Sam Despain said. "We always see people doing things other than paying attention to their driving."

Police then post the pictures on the department's Facebook page with details, such as "manipulating the phone for at least four to six seconds, passing us at 35 mph. That is about 210 feet traveled."

Another officer then pulls over the driver and gives them a warning. Police say tickets are next.

So far officers have posted nine pictures on the Facebook page, with a Heads Up Thumbs Up logo over the faces.

The campaign aims to save lives. On its Facebook page, police said the goal is to educate the public about the hazards of distracted driving and the laws that relate to the use of electronic devices while driving as well as careless driving. It came in part after a man was killed by a texting driver in March.

"This is really about safety, about making people aware that there are tragic consequences to just looking at a cellphone," Despain said.

Reaction to the Facebook posts is mixed.

One person posted, "If my family saw my picture on this post, they would kill me! I will put my phone down, Mom."

Another wrote, "Have your officers ever taken their eyes off the road 'for just a second' to type plate numbers into (a computer)?"

Email: mrichards@deseretnews.com