(FOX 2) - April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Michigan State Police are sending out special patrols all month long to help cut down on distracted driving. On Thursday, April 25, MSP is implementing its Operation Ghost Rider day along M-59.
That means troopers or other local law officers will be in unmarked cars, looking for distracted drivers.
"Good Morning everyone it’s Friday eve! Today is also Operation Ghost Rider day along M59. So don’t drive distracted! That guy or gal next to you may be a trooper or one of our local partners in an unmarked car! Even worse you may hurt yourself or someone else!," the agency tweeted out Thursday morning.
The operation has been around for a number of years and has been successful in the past. For example last year, within a 6 hour period, nearly 50 police officers within 10 districts pulled over more than 500 vehicles for distracted driving. Nine people were arrested and nearly 400 citations were given out. All of that took place on the 17 mile stretch of M-59 between I-75 and Romeo Plank.
And back in 2017, police stopped 907 cars, issued 726 tickets and arrested 34 people within 18 hours.
This most obvious form of distracted driving is texting and driving, of course, but authorities will be looking for much more than that. And they've seen much more than that, too.
"Some of it is pretty egregious out there. We see people that actually have Velcro on their steering wheel where they put their iPads on and they're watching Netflix as they go along on their commute. So there's a lot of stuff that happens out there and you just look at it and go, 'What the heck are you doing?'" MSP Lt. Michael Shaw told us earlier this month.
The police force is really concerned about the recent uptick in distracted driving-related crashes.
"We're really concerned when the 2018 stats came, which should come out at the end of this month. We know from '16 - '17 we saw it jump from 40 fatalities to 71. So we're concerned that, again, this year we're almost going to see a double digit jump for something that's totally preventable," Shaw said.
"If people just pay attention while they're driving down the road, we don't have these crashes anymore. We don't have these fatalities."