PROVO — Officers with the Provo Police Department have been watching and issuing citations for drivers distracted by their phones.
They were patrolling Center Street Monday where the speed limit was just 15 miles per hour.
Officer Ken Newell was on the traffic enforcement team and one of several officers involved in the operation. He noticed many of the people speeding down the road were also on their phones.
“You can see they are all pretty consistent. That one is traveling at 28 miles per hour,” Newell said, pointing out a vehicle speeding by.
While Newell patrols for speeders, there is something else he is looking for too: drivers using their phones.
I had one lady tell me that she had left her kids at home, and that is why she had her phone up in front of her face — because she was watching them on the cameras.
–Provo Police Officer Ken Newell
“I had one lady tell me that she had left her kids at home and that is why she had her phone up in front of her face — because she was watching them on the cameras,” Newell added.
Police said they were particularly concerned about it in downtown Provo because drivers may not see a pedestrian crossing the street.
“If they are manipulating the cell phone in any way, we can go after them and write them a ticket,” he said.
Part of Newell’s job was also investigating crashes. He said when he sees people get hurt, it hurts him, knowing when it comes to cell phone use, it didn’t have to happen.
“I just want everyone to put their cell phones down when they are driving. It is so unsafe. (It) can be the split second when a child enters the roadway or someone is in the roadway or a pedestrian in a crosswalk,” Newell said.