Is Kentucky’s anti-texting law reducing deadly highway car and truck accidents?
In 2010, House Bill 415 was signed into law that banned drivers of all ages from texting while driving. The law aimed to reduce fatal car crashes and make Kentucky roads safer. It was reported that distracted drivers contributed to Kentucky’s 57,000 crashes in 2009. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a driver’s eyes are off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds every time they send or receive a text message. Drivers who are texting while driving are 23 times more likely to crash.
What has happened so far?
With the implementation of the two-year-old law, only around 558 people have been issued for texting and driving in 2012. Kentucky State Police made 60 arrests during the same year. In 2011, 313 citations were issued and 44 arrests were made. Though these figures seem low compared to other states, Kentucky is already in its third year of recording a significant decline of distracted driving fatal accidents. Statewide, 171 people were killed in 2012, 176 in 2011 and 217 in 2009. The decline is believed to be a result of various “no texting while driving” campaigns and education efforts.
What makes anti-texting laws difficult?
In a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, it was discovered that 57% of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving, despite laws prohibiting texting while driving. Kentucky State police admitted that the law seems difficult to enforce because officers have to witness a driver sending a text message. Catching texting drivers is a challenge for them because if the drivers are holding their cell phones down in their lap, or they are intentionally hiding it, it is harder for the state troopers to catch them in the act.
What’s next for the anti-texting law?
Some law enforcers and advocacy groups want steeper penalties for violating the law. The base fine under the current anti-texting law is $25 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. Officials believe that stiffer fines would strengthen the law and act as a better deterrent.
It doesn't take a genius to realize that texting while driving is extremely dangerous. One text message or call can ruin your life and cause a fatal car accident. Is Kentucky’s anti-texting law really works? Well, it takes two to tango. Drivers must be responsible on the roads while lawmakers have to make this law easier to enforce. What do you think?