Manchester, State Police Work To Curb Distracted Driving

May 21, 2013

Lt. Jim Flanagan of the Manchester Police Department hands a pamphlet about distracted driving to a woman who was driving with her dog in her lap.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

Manchester police partnered with State Police on Tuesday to educate people about the dangers of distracted driving.

Lieutenant Jim Flanagan approached drivers as they stopped at the corner of Hanover and Elm streets in downtown Manchester.

He had a smile on his face and an informational pamphlet about distracted driving in his hand.

“We’re just trying to get the word out and let people know before the worst happens. And we see most of our accidents, or a great deal of them, are related to distracted driving, in some fashion or another.”

He approached one driver hurrying through a breakfast sandwich.

“How you doing? I see you’re enjoying a snack.  “Which could fall into this category, OK? So do a little reading when you get a chance, alright? Preferably when you’re not driving.”

Flanagan says he’d seen it all so far this morning.

“Yeah, make up. Eating. You know, like I said, there was a gentleman who had his laptop open. I’m sure he’s conducting business.”

State law bans texting while driving and other forms of negligent driving, but officers say it’s difficult to enforce before it leads to an accident.

Pedestrians like Joe Pelletier said they appreciated the effort.

“I think it’s fantastic. Me and my wife – we don’t drive, we walk everywhere. And we see a lot of distracted drivers, smoking and talking on the phone at the same time.”

Tuesday’s initiative was funded in part through a grant from the state highway agency.