Ban on Texting while driving begins in KY

By David Williams - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's 2011 and new laws are being enforced across the country.

A big change came to the Commonwealth Saturday when it comes to texting while driving.

WAVE 3 went for a ride along Saturday morning with Kentucky State Police as they begin the crackdown on texting while driving.

Anyone caught using a cell phone to text while driving on roads across the Commonwealth could be hit with a $25 fine. Police are out patrolling area roadways and enforcing the laws.

I've had people pulled them over thinking they were DUI...drunk. or intoxicated in some way but, they weren't. They had the phone there. You could see they were half way through a message...already texting out" Trooper Walter Szczepan, with Kentucky State Police said Saturday.

Starting Saturday, Trooper Walter Szczepan and officers across the Commonwealth began enforcing a state law... a ticket for anyone texting while driving. The law went into effect back in July, but Saturday, officers started writing tickets.

"I've been on the Interstate driving, like we are today and go by somebody and they'll have their hands up here with their phone in their hands and you could just see their thumbs going to town." Szczepan said

The law also prohibits drivers under 18 year old from using a cell phone while driving. Szczepan calls it a problem

"Especially if they're under 18. If they're talking on it [a cell phone]...or just have their hands up on the steering wheel. I've seen that several times. They just have it in front of them looking down into the seat. You can pretty much pull of next to them and they'll be looking straight down instead of at the road"

While WAVE 3 was out on the ride-along, a driver was pulled over, on a cell phone... without a seat belt. Szczepan said the driver was driving like a drunk driver would... weaving in the travel lane and even drifting off the roadway into the shoulder.

Szczepan said the ban on texting while driving may be difficult to enforce.

"You could treat it like a traffic stop to where you could ask them for consent to search. And if they give you consent to search, and you see their phone and you talk to them about it...and yeah, they com up with it. It's going to be difficult at first." Szczepan said.

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