THP, Metro Officers Ride Bus To Catch Distracted Drivers

Posted at 7:34 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 20:42:17-05

It may appear to be a coach bus, but a closer look shows it's actually THP.

"It's like a rolling billboard that says Tennessee Highway Patrol," said Sgt. Travis Plotzer, behind the wheel.

On a rainy Tuesday, it's the mode of transportation for troopers and officers looking for distracted drivers.

"You see people reading, you see people eating, you see people applying makeup, obviously texting," Plotzer said, "and I say obviously because it's become such a norm and I hate that's where we are right now."

Distracted driving is a problem causing thousands of accident and ending dozens of lives in Tennessee each year.

And with a spike in fatalities this year, the bus is one of law enforcement's answers.

"We're looking for new ways to curb the problem," said Plotzer,, "it is a huge problem."

 A couple people sit in the back and act as spotters, looking for any drivers breaking the law. When they find one they radio to one of the ten THP troopers and Metro officers strategically stationed around the downtown loop. Those officers then pull the person over.

With their higher vantage point, it doesn't take long to find drivers breaking the law. Tuesday they found texters and people not wearing seatbelts every few mintues. They also spotted a commercial vehicle driver talking on his phone, which is forbidden unless it's hands-free.

They hope the bus helps drive the idea home that folks need to change their habits.

"There's never a good time to lose a loved one but right here near the holidays it's tough to knock on that door to tell them a loved one isn't coming home," Plotzer said.

That way people buckle up and put the cell phone down. Because you never know when the bus may drive to your part of town.