Rutherford County Sheriff's Office will promote the fourth annual "Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving" in April

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Mrs. Evans and her 4th grade class at Barfield Elementary School last year drew their own posters for #ThumbsDownTN. The students ask drivers not to text while driving for safety. Joining the class is School Resource Officer Angela Istvanditsch.

Rutherford County Sheriff's Office will promote the fourth annual "Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving" campaign with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office in April during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Law enforcement agencies participate by promoting safe driving habits and increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Throughout April, the THSO will use #ThumbsDownTN to promote the campaign via social media.

Sheriff's Cpl. Michael Rodgers said patrol officers will focus on drivers who are texting during the month.

Deputies will join other agencies in enforcing the texting law during an event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, April 5 throughout Rutherford County.

"We will have officers in unmarked vehicles looking for people driving while distracted," Rodgers said. "We will also have marked units making the traffic stops and dealing with the violations."

The Sheriff's Office will focus on Interstates 24 and 840.

Distracted driving was listed as a contributing factor in 24,781 traffic crashes statewide last year, according to the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network. Of those crashes, 120 were fatal.

"Texting and driving is a serious issue," said THSO Director Vic Donoho. "The slightest distraction could lead to a fatal crash. We caution all drivers to remain focused and alert at all times. The THSO and law enforcement partners are cracking down on distracted driving in our shared mission to Drive to Zero Fatalities across Tennessee."

For more information, or to learn more about texting and driving, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org/distracteddriving.

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