KPD e-News Release: Kingsport Police to Emphasize Distracted Driving Education and Enforcement During Month of April

Kingsport Police Department

Dale Phipps, Chief of Police

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

SUBJECT: Kingsport Police to Emphasize Distracted Driving Education and Enforcement During Month of April
DATE: April 5, 2021
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Kingsport Police Department will be partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to bring increased educational and enforcement efforts to this important subject.

For the past decade, distracted driving has taken U.S. roadways by storm, endangering not only the distracted drivers, but their passengers, pedestrians and others on the road — including bicyclists.

The past year has brought a lot of distractions and changes in our life, but when we’re behind the wheel we must be focused on one task: safe driving. Anytime you divert your attention from driving, you’re distracted. This includes texting, talking, using your phone, adjusting the radio, setting your navigation, applying makeup, eating or drinking.

Distracted Driving is deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9% of all fatal crashes involved distracted drivers. From 2012—2019, approximately 26,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers, with 3,142 of these lost lives occurring during 2019 alone.


Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in activities that divert the driver’s attention away from the road. There are three forms of distracted driving: cognitive, visual, and manual. Texting and driving (which also includes other forms of electronic messaging) is extremely dangerous, because it involves all three forms of distracted driving.

1. Cognitive distraction occurs when the driver’s mind is not focused on driving. Examples include talking to passengers in the vehicle, thinking about stressful issues, or listening to loud music.

2. Visual distraction occurs when the driver is not focused on looking at the road ahead. Examples include looking for items around the vehicle, looking down at a GPS device, or watching a movie/video on a mobile phone.

3. Manual distraction occurs when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel for any reason. Examples include eating food or drinking beverages, reaching backwards, or handling a mobile device.


According to Public Chapter No. 412, it is illegal for a driver to:

(a) hold a cellphone or mobile device with any part of their body,
(b) write, send, or read any text-based communication,
(c) reach for a cellphone or mobile device in a manner that requires the driver to no longer be in a seated driving position or properly restrained by a seat belt,
(d) watch a video or movie on a cellphone or mobile device, and
(e) record or broadcast video on a cellphone or mobile device.

For more information, please visit


Here are a few tips to help you plan ahead, so you remain focused and alert while driving.

1. Put your mobile phone away.

Pull over, if you need to make a phone call or send a text message. Never use a mobile device while driving. A hands-free device is safer to use, but the driver should still exercise caution and remain focused on the road.

2. Set your GPS in advance.

Program your GPS navigation before you leave the driveway. If you need to adjust your GPS, then pull over. Never operate GPS navigation while driving.

3. Safely secure child passengers and pets.

Make sure all passengers are properly secured before you begin driving. If child passengers or pets become disruptive within the vehicle, then pull over to address the disruptions.

4. Eat beforehand.

Make time in your schedule to eat before your trip. Never eat behind the wheel.

Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-343-9749 (FAX)


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