EAST LANSING (WWJ) – Undercover operations are ongoing in East Lansing to catch motorists who text and drive.

East Lansing Police Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth said they ticked 11 distracted drivers in six hours on Tuesday — but there were many more.

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“My guess is, due to the logistics of the operation and only having so many marked cars available to the detail, we probably saw three or four times that many violators,” he said.

Wriggelsworth said the tickets for a first offense is $210 and a second offense is $310.

He stressed the seriousness of this issue.

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“I would use the word epidemic,” he told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “We don’t want anybody to be texting and driving, because I think it rivals or has overcome drunk driving as far as the dangers involved with it.”

Even though East Lansing is a college town, Wriggelsworth says they’ve caught distracted drivers from 17 to 65 in the three undercover operations they’ve conducted with Michigan State University Police since November.

“And the scary thing about our city — being a university town and having so much foot, bike, skateboard, moped, motorcycle traffic — those people, too, are distracted,” he said.

Back in December, East Lansing and MSU police wrote five tickets over two hours during the initial round of enforcement.

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Wriggelsworth said they plan to continue the undercover operations and hope to prevent a tragedy from happening.