Tennessee’s texting while driving ban went into effect on July 1, 2009. Yet, how many friends do we know who continue to do it? How many of them have been pulled over by Metro and fined $50.00 for it?
Right… Seems we’re all thinking the same thing.
According to an article in last week’s Tennessean, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department ticketed 44 drivers for texting while driving during the 18 months since the law was put into effect.
It is understandably difficult for a police officer to be 100% certain he’s caught someone in the act of texting while driving. A driver looks down to dial a cell phone (which is legal), brush lint off her lap (legal) or look at the cruise control button (also legal). An officer can’t pull over a driver for texting unless the officer is certain the driver was actually breaking that law. Citations have, more or less, been on the honor system. A guilty automobile driver has had to admit he or she was texting after having been pulled over for another infraction, or after having been involved in a car accident.
That was until now.
For 2010, Davidson County reports a 9% increase in traffic fatalities and the increase is being attributed, in part, to the epidemic of distracted driving. So in an effort to combat drivers’ temptations to turn their eyes away from the road, Metro Nashville Police now patrol the roads in unmarked SUVs. Anyone who’s ever driven or ridden in a truck, bus, van or sport utility vehicle knows how easy it is to see down into the other vehicles on the road. And that’s exactly how Metro Nashville Police officers will be able to pull over anyone who is texting while driving.
Even if a driver can’t see the police, it doesn’t mean the police can’t see the driver.
According to the American Automobile Association, 30 of the 50 United States have enacted bans on texting while driving. Unfortunately, research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that texting bans are not reducing car accidents.
Read The Tennessean article Nashville Police Will Use Unmarked SUVs to Enforce Texting Law.