Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 7, 2013

Impossible to enforce

— Indiana legislators passed a law in 2011, aimed at cutting back on the number of motorists texting while driving. It doesn’t work.

The problem, any patrol officer, sheriff’s deputy or trooper will tell you, is the law is impossible to enforce.

While the law forbids drivers from typing, transmitting or reading texts and emails while their vehicles are in motion, it also says officers can’t confiscate phones or other mobile devices to determine whether a person was breaking the law.

And besides, it’s likely hard to tell whether a driver is illegally texting or using a smartphone’s GPS.

A 2011 survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 2 of 10 drivers admitted sending text messages or emails from the driver’s seat.

At any given moment in 2011, the agency said, nearly 1 in every 100 drivers was texting, emailing, surfing the Web or otherwise using a handheld electronic device. And those activities spiked 50 percent over the previous year.

The trend appears to continue its rise. A new survey from AT&T reports 49 percent of adult respondents said they text and drive. Three years ago, 6 in 10 adults said they never texted behind the wheel.

In 2011, many drivers didn’t think the practice was dangerous, at least when they did it. A quarter of all drivers that year reported that sending text messages had no effect on their driving.

That’s no longer the case: A full 98 percent of adult drivers in the AT&T survey now say they know distracted driving isn’t safe.

Advocacy groups have launched campaigns trying to raise awareness of the danger, pointing out that at highway speeds a vehicle can travel the length of a football field in only an instant.

What will really get drivers’ attention, though, is the threat of a suspended license, AT&T found, followed by the possibility of a $500 fine.

The Associated Press reported last year that law enforcement agencies in New York and Connecticut had brought about significant reductions in distracted driving simply by handing out more tickets.

That’s what needs to happen in Indiana, where 966 crashes in 2012 were linked to cellphone use, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute reported.

Lawmakers have acknowledged the danger by making texting while driving illegal. Now, they need to add provisions — such as giving police the ability to confiscate phones, and threatening drivers with suspension — that will make the ban enforceable.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • It's time to deal with crisis For five and a half years, the president has gone around Congress to ignore, defy and alter laws in a variety of areas, from Obamacare implementation to issuing excessive new labor and environmental rules to infringing on religious freedom. It is no

    August 21, 2014

  • Nation must be united On Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, by a police officer. Since that time, protestors and unrest have filled the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, a town near St. Louis.A similar scenario

    August 21, 2014

  • John understands fight against mental illness Terre Haute native Tommy John understands all too well how the pain of depression can lead a talented entertainer like Robin Williams to commit suicide.Like Williams, John achieved national fame, posting 288 victories as a major league baseball pitch

    August 21, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor Former Kokomoan on FergusonI was a resident of Kokomo from 1992 to 2008. Because of the housing crisis, my wife and I relocated to the St. Louis, Missouri area, which is close to where I grew up. With the eyes of the world focused upon the St. Louis

    August 21, 2014

  • OPN - KT082014 - king What Fergusonsays about us Aug. 9 is a day that Americans lost sight of themselves. It is the day Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black teenager of Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. That evening, and for all but o

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letters to the editor Congrats on wind farm defeat Congratulations to the citizens of Kokomo and Howard County! Your officials have done you a great favor by stopping any further considerations for construction of industrial wind turbines in your area. Now, if the fede

    August 20, 2014

  • Cleaning up voter rolls Citizens should expect the voting process for electing government representatives at all levels to be efficient and of the highest integrity. Indiana's system in recent years has at times been manipulated for political purposes -- the voter ID system

    August 20, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: First Amendment assault in Ferguson

    Of all the outrageous and disturbing story lines emanating from Ferguson, Missouri, since unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, the targeting of journalists during the ensuing protests ranks among the most troubling.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mopeds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana. A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners returned sprits to Indiana State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putti

    August 19, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll