Deputies struggle to enforce texting law - WNEM TV 5

Deputies struggle to enforce texting law

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - After 10 days, how many of us have gotten tickets for texting while driving?

 
Law enforcement, like Sgt. Ricky Parks of the Martin Co. Sheriffs' office, say the new law isn't as easy as simply spotting a distracted driver.
 
We were with Sgt. Parks Thursday night when he spots a driver who he says made a wide turn.
 
The driver tells Sgt. Parks he was using his cell phone to talk and not text.
 
Parks doesn't necessarily believe him, but all the sergeant can do is warn for an improper turn. "Is there a possibility he was texting? Absolutely with that type of driving pattern. Without actually seeing the phone in his hand texting, there's not a lot you can do but take their word for it," said Parks.
 
He says in the whole county, Since Oct. 1st, deputies have only written about a ticket a day. 
 
The law says police have to see texting and another infraction at the same moment. 
 
Even seconds later isn't enough. "If I see somebody texting, and they put their phone down and go down the road and speed, the texting occurred before the speeding part," said Parks. "You have to take their word for it."
 
Yet Sgt. Parks does say the law has led to a small decrease in texting on the road. "I don't do it. I used to, before the law came out. But I don't do it now," said LaToya Queen of West Palm Beach.

"Up north, my friends pull over to the side of the road," said Linda Hannah of Stuart. "They stop their car. Nobody does that here. I think it will progress down to here."
 
Sgt. Parks says the legislature should add teeth: make texting while driving a primary offense, something you can be pulled over for on its own. "A lot of the people we see injured out here are a lot of kids," said Parks. "We have adults that go out and make a conscious decision, do silly stuff behind the wheel. It gets frustrating."
 
Legislation in Tallahassee has already been introduced to make it a primary offense.
 
St. Lucie County deputies told us they haven't written a single ticket for texting while driving.

Copyright 2013 WFLX. All Rights Reserved.

 

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