State police cracks down for distracted driving awareness month

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FOX 2: "Honestly, how often do you fidget with your phones when you're behind the wheel?"

"All day long," said Dominic Val.

And it's literally killing us. Michigan saw a 67 percent increase fatal distracted driving traffic crashes from 2016 to 2017. And its why Michigan State Troopers are planning a crackdown for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to state police there were more than 20,000 distracted driving-related crashes in 2017 leading to 72 deaths.

Among the victims - Gladys and 5-year-old Sakira Johnson.

"It's nothing that important that you have to text or talk behind the wheel," said Dushawna Dickinson.

Todd Moyer, the man responsible for the deaths, was texting while driving when he rear-ended the Johnsons causing them to crash into another vehicle.
Moyer is now serving a 15-year prison sentence. 

FOX 2: "Why do we feel like we have to always be on our phones even when we're in the car?"

"We start to habituate to this constant need to be distracted by something," said Dr. Taisel Losada.

Losada, a psychologist, breaks down what could be going through our heads when they're not minding the road.

"I think part of it is, we don't want to feel our normal emotions and so we got used to doing that all long and we also get validated by people commenting on our posts and things like that," Losada said. "So, it becomes sort of like an addiction."

You could call Anthony Scannell a recovering addict after hitting rock bottom.

"Over here on I-75 and Davison I got in an accident playing with the radio," Scannell said. "A couple years back on I-75 Downriver got into an accident texting." 

Anthony doesn't drive anymore. And if you don't want to walk a mile in his shoes, take heed to some hard-won wisdom.

"If I could tell anyone in the news audience: do not text, don't drive, don't text and drive, don't play with the phone, don't play with the radio," he said.

State police will be clamping down on distracted driving starting April 11th. The office of highway safety patrol is encouraging other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for distracted drivers.