I can’t emphasize enough how texting while driving is a dangerous mix. We shouldn’t have to be involved in an accident to realize this danger. However, people continue to text and use their cell phone while driving.
Police cracking down on texting and driving
In Kentucky, police officers are trying to put a stop to texting while driving, but they admit that it can be hard to spot. Officer Ronald Fey, for one, said he doesn’t have to wait long to spot motorists who are staring down at their smartphone. However, the problem is people are allowed to enter phone numbers or use GPS phone maps. So, if a cop pulls a driver over for being on their cell phone, the driver could easily use one of those reasons as an excuse for being on the phone.
Kentucky police’s goal is to tighten Kentucky’s distracted driving laws. Two Louisville lawmakers filed House Bill 6 which bans the use of cell phones with hands-free technology in the car. The bill is trying to get passed, but with how things are going, it seems they will need to try again next year. Head of Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, Bill Bell, said a lot of conservative representatives and senators are against this type of legislation as they feel it’s too regulatory.
Related: Hands-Free Devices May Not Be As Safe As We Thought
Texting while driving statistics
There were 451 texting while driving citations in 2012, and then this number rose to 887 in 2013. It then climbed to 1,873 in 2014. According to Bell, this increase can be attributed to the federal grants that funded extra officers to ride as “spotters” on patrols. Despite this, 38% of the 2014 citations were dismissed. Some who were guilty of texting while driving attended a safety course. However, in many cases, texting cannot be proved. This makes it difficult to stop.
In a report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association, distractions were estimated to be connected to 15 to 25% of crashes. About a third of driver survey respondents admitted to using their phones routinely, while an eighth reported that they do text and drive. The Kentucky State Police report says that only 1,040 in almost 146,000 crashes in 2013 reported involved cell phones. Police say cell phone use is an underreported factor because only a few admit to texting when questioned after a wreck incident. A 2014 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study examined trips made by 105 drivers. They found the risk of a crash or near crash was 17% higher when the driver was interacting with a cell phone.
Related: Cell Phone Use In Fatal Car Crashes Underreported
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, it’s every driver’s responsibility to drive safe and responsibly. We cannot rely entirely on the authorities to put an end to texting and driving. It’s everybody’s business. Please put your phones away while you’re behind the wheel. Every second you spend with your eyes away from the road is a potentially deadly disaster. That message or call can wait, but your safety cannot.