Police losing battle to get drivers to put down their phones - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police losing battle to get drivers to put down their phones

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WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (AP) -- Efforts to discourage people from texting while driving have increased in recent years. But the consensus among police, safety advocates and drivers themselves is that the problem is only getting worse.

Police departments around the country have gotten creative.

In Bethesda, Maryland, an officer disguised himself as a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers. In West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, an officer tools around town on his bicycle, pedals up to drivers texting at stop lights and hands them $105 tickets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 3,500 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in the mainland U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2015, up from nearly 3,200 in 2014. The number of fatalities in crashes involving a cellphone increased from 406 in 2014 to 476 in 2015.

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