Gwinnett police give 600 citations in distracted driving crackdown

Gwinnett County Chief of Police Butch Ayers takes a question during a news conference last month while announcing a major traffic detail intended to curb distracted driving and pedestrian accidents around the county. He was joined by leaders of the other agencies that patrol Gwinnett. (File Photo)

A two-week operation involving 13 agencies to crack down on distracted driving led by Gwinnett County police yielded more than 600 citations and warnings to drivers and pedestrians.

It took place between Dec. 14 and Dec. 28 as 211 officers from around the area participated to address distracted driving and pedestrian safety, said police spokeswomen Cpl. Michele Pihera.

They made 1,988 citizen contacts, handed out 922 flyers, issued 298 pedestrian citations or warnings and 323 distracted driver citations or warnings.

There was one fatality. It happened on Dec. 16 when a 34-year old man was struck and killed while riding his skateboard across Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near Tench Road. It was at night and raining. The driver was not cited or charged.

At a news conference last month to announce the operation, Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers said he focused particularly on crashes involving pedestrians.

Ayers said there was, by early December, 322 incidents with pedestrians last year all over Gwinnett.

In cases worked by Gwinnett police, eight were fatal. Seven of the eight fatal accidents were deemed to have been caused by the pedestrian by being intoxicated, or often jaywalking, police said.

Texting and driving was a major concern.

Gwinnett Police handed out citations for that charge, which could include playing with apps, games or music, to the tune of 2,072 citations in 2013; 1,349 in 2014; and 1,217 in 2015.

Last year, the county police department made more than 27,000 accident reports. The agency has worked 53 fatal crashes, according to Pihera.

The majority of the fatal accidents are believed to have resulted from drivers’ failure to maintain lane, yield, or “obey a traffic control device.”

The agencies that participated were the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, Gwinnett County Fire Department, Georgia State Patrol and city departments in Auburn, Suwanee, Lawrenceville, Snellville, Lilburn, Norcross and Duluth. Georgia Gwinnett College, the city of Buford and Gwinnett County School Police also participated.

Gwinnett Daily Post news reporter.

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