For many officers, texting while driving law is hard to enforce

For many officers, texting while driving law is hard to enforce

For many officers, texting while driving law is hard to enforce

As so many Americans own a cellphone or smartphone, the odds that they will use these devices while traveling along the nation’s roads is higher than ever. Whether drivers are making a call while behind the wheel or responding to a text message, they are putting their own life – and those of fellow motorists – on the line.

In 2010, a total of 3,092 individuals were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers, according to Distraction.gov. This figure, as well as the fact that an estimated 416,000 additional people sustained injuries due to distracted driving, highlights the need for law enforcement training related to cracking down on irresponsible motorists.

Difficulty down South
Georgia is one state where texting while driving has been banned. However, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that many police officers have a difficult time enforcing the law, which has been in effect since July 1, 2010. In fact, state troopers have only issued an average of 11 citations per month since texting while driving became illegal.

“We’re having the same obstacles we’ve had since the law came into effect,” Lieutenant Les Wilburn, an assistant troop commander for the Georgia State Patrol, told the news source. “They’re looking for us now, because they know it’s against the law, and they don’t do it while we’re in a car sitting right next to them.”

Enforcement across counties has been somewhat uneven, as 665 individuals have been convicted in Gwinnett County, while only 20 drivers in Clayton County and 16 motorists in DeKalb County have been convicted of texting while driving.

Hard to enforce
Further north, in Pennsylvania, police officers are finding it difficult to enforce the ban on texting, which has only been in place for about six months, The Times-Tribune reported. Part of the problem lies in the fact that drivers are still allowed to talk on their phones while operating a vehicle, but not text.

“It’s difficult to make that arrest due to the current law,” Police Chief Carl Graziano of the Scranton Police Department told the news source. “It’s difficult for an officer to discern whether they’re texting or looking up numbers on their phone.”

As many officers may have difficulty enforcing texting laws, these individuals may benefit from additional law enforcement training so they can keep roads safe and advance in their law enforcement careers.

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