But distracted driving isn't just texting or chatting on a cellphone; it could be anything from fiddling with the radio to putting on makeup or disciplining children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,331 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. That same year saw about 387,000 people injured in distracted driving related crashes.
Deputies also will be on the lookout for aggressive drivers and seatbelt violators, Cpl. Brian Humphreys said.
Seatbelt use also used to be a secondary offense, but as of July 9, officers can stop anyone seen driving without a seat belt.
The sheriff's department will host a distracted driving course this afternoon for anyone who wants to give it a try. Rutherford called it a safe way to demonstrate the dangers of driving while distracted.
Participants will drive a golf cart through the course with a deputy while another deputy sends them text messages and calls them, Humphreys said.
The corporal said cellphone company vendors will be on hand to talk about different hands-free products and may have coupons for participants.
"It's part of what we do," Rutherford said. "It's our job to keep the community safe.
"We don't want to be a department that just reacts all the time. It's important to us as members of the community to keep it safe, so it's nice to be able to do things to educate as well as enforce."
He said he'd spoken to other elected officials and that all seemed to be on board with it.
The course will run from 1:30 to 4 p.m. today in the parking lot of the Kanawha County Courthouse near Kanawha Boulevard and Goshorn Street.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.
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