FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – Every Friday NBC33 warns viewers of the dangers of distracted driving. One of the ways the state of Indiana is trying to help in this fight is through legislation which has made texting and driving illegal.
The law was first introduced in July 2011 as a way to promote public safety on the roads. Not only that, it has also become a way to hold drivers accountable for poor driving habits. Since that time however, only 371 citations for texting and driving have been given to drivers across the state. That is an average of between 1.5 and 2 citations per county per year.
A reason for that is due to the difficulty in enforcing the law as it’s written.
"It's very difficult at times to determine whether someone is actually dialing their phone, scrolling through their contact list, or actually sending an email or a text message,” says Sgt. Ron Galaviz with the Indiana State Police. “The law is meant to be a primary enforcement tool, which means we can stop solely on the basis of the texting and driving, however, when it's really put into practice it's as a secondary tool."
Sgt. Galaviz went on to explain that as a secondary tool you would receive a texting and driving citation only after being stopped for something like speeding or improper lane change.
Another program putting the emphasis on the importance of distracted driving is the “Kids Dart, Drive Smart” campaign through the Lutheran Children’s Hospital. The program stresses even taking your eyes off the road for one second is often all it takes for something bad to happen.
"All it takes is just a second for you to look away,” says Carmen DeBruce, the Outreach Director with Lutheran Hospital, “and just that second is the amount of time that it takes to run out into the street and for you to hit them and not be able to stop."
So even though the laws established in Indiana may be very hard to enforce, it is still crucial to put down devices while you're behind the wheel.
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