Hillsborough deputies school teens about distracted driving

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Each week, 8 On Your Side features drivers' complaints about traffic, road construction, and the rules of the road, in our "Road Rant" report.

For the next few weeks, however, we're turning the tables, and asking local law enforcement agencies what their rants are about motorists.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office leaders are frustrated by drivers who should be setting a good example, but aren't. They witness bad behavior by seasoned drivers all the time.

"Cars in front of you will be swerving within the lane, unable to maintain the lane," said Corporal Jeff Humphrey, with HCSO's District III Traffic Unit. "It almost mimics impairment, and then when you drive along next to them they're texting, eating or putting on makeup."

8 On Your Side Traffic Reporter, Meredyth Censullo, road along with Cpl. Humphrey, in his marked cruiser, and saw everything the officer mentioned, including a woman doing her makeup, and another woman who had a sandwich in one hand, and her phone in another.

Yet another driver was spotted on his phone, while he drove nearly 20 miles per hour below the speed limit, and other distracted drivers sat at traffic signals with green lights and traffic backed up behind them.

Cpl. Humphrey points out that in a split second, a car can pull out in front of you, or a small child could step off the curb. If you're looking down, the result could be fatal.

The problem is so bad, the sheriff's office is now targeting new drivers through education. Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, deputies began teaching in driver's education classes at Hillsborough County schools, hoping to stop bad behavior before it starts. But, they say, adults must do a better job modeling good behavior.

In Florida, texting while driving is illegal, however it is enforced as a secondary offense, which means that you cannot be pulled over for distracted driving. If you are pulled over for another offense such as speeding, an expired license plate, or any other reason, you can be cited for texting while driving.

If you have a Road Rant to share, contact Meredyth at or on Facebook.

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