Stopping texting while driving starts with you
Tue, 15 Feb 2011 16:45:26 GMT —
There are laws all over the country trying to crack down on texting while driving.
Right here in the Tri-States, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa all have some sort of law against it, but it may take more than laws to stop texting while driving.
Jarod Well's shows us why in this KHQA Safe Family Health Report.
In Illinois it is illegal for anyone to text while driving.
It's currently illegal for any 21 years of age or younger to text while driving in Missouri, but there is pending legislation trying to extend that to all motorists.
And Iowa is currently in the warning phase for its law.
That means motorists will get warnings until June 30th of this year if they're caught texting while driving.
In July, law enforcement officers will start handing out tickets.
But proving that someone is breaking a texting law is challenging for law enforcement.
Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard said, "A texting while driving case is much like any other case. It's going to depend on the evidence in that given case."
In some situations the facts will be obvious. Officers may see the act happen, a witness may see a motorist texting or a driver may admit to texting while driving. Other situations though, may take a little more research.
Barnard said, "You may, in a given situation where it is warranted, have a subpoena issued to obtain cell phone records for a given point or moment in time that would substantiate the fact that there was texting going on at that time."
But there has to be a legitimate basis for the officer to believe the driver was texting to subpoena those records.
Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Kindhart said, "We're seeing the cars weaving in the lane because of the eyes coming off the road. We also see them following to closely where they're getting up behind the vehicle because again they're not focused. We see them fail to signal, we see them not stop."
As laws have been enacted, the way motorists text while they drive has changed.
Kindhart said, "Before the law came in, we saw people driving with the hand on the steering wheel and the phone was up in the air so that you could glance and keep your eyes on the roadway. Now it has put the cell phone down in the lap."
Quincy Police Department Chief Rob Copley said, "Actually makes it worse because now they're full attention is in their lap instead of at least looking over the device into the traffic lane.// It is very tough, we can only enforce those that we can prove."
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Brent Bernhardt said, "Obviously there's been some difficulty in enforcing this law, but we do it in the best manner that we can."
Officers across the country can ticket you or at the very least warn you to stop texting while driving if they catch you. But many times once they prove a driver was texting...it's too late and an accident has already happened. So they best way to crack down on texting while driving? Don't do it in the first place.
It features real-life stories told by those whose lives have been changed forever by texting and driving.
We strongly urge you to watch it with your family.