Amarillo, TX - Amarillo police now have more funds to step up enforcement where it is most needed.
$200,000 is what TxDOT and APD are hopeful will reduce the number of fatal collisions and incidents within the city.
There have been over twenty fatal traffic collisions so far this year in Amarillo...a number officers say should be non-existent. And a new grant from TxDOT is aimed at doing away with these incidents. Their primary focuses are impaired drivers, speeding violators, seat belt and child restraint violators, and distracted violators.
"And now they're going to use that money so they can beef up patrols and help our efforts in getting the word out about things like buckling up, don't drink and drive, safe sober rides and so forth," says TxDOT spokesperson Paul Braun.
"It allows officers to work off duty, overtime money to concentrate enforcement on DWIs, speeding, seat belts, and distracted driving which is the cell phone use," says Sergeant Wes Hill with APD.
In fact, cell phone usage while driving has been a growing issue in the area according to Hill and Braun.
"We have seen an increase in impaired driving and also distracted driving," says Braun.
"The only time you can be using your cell phone is during emergency situations," says Hill. "You're calling 911 or any type of thing like that. It's basically for emergency types only. You're not allowed to use your cell phone unless you have hands-free."
All in all, both parties say the added enforcement will have an impact on reducing the number of deaths on Amarillo roads.
"As everybody knows, if you've driven up and down I-40 or I-27, the speeding is a problem. Anywhere in the city, there is a problem. We get multiple complaints from citizens calling in about speeders throughout the city and that's where we assign those officers to work those areas," says Hill.
A recent speed survey reflected that 21.5 percent of drivers are in compliance with the speed limit at certain locations....another number officers say is far too low.