Until recently motorists have been having it easy with texting. In most states there were hardly any tickets for it even though it is illegal to do so. It was mainly because the police was not looking for them or not noticing. These are changing as federal and state authorities are pushing to catch and punish more people. Also the penalties are getting higher and severe.
Nearly 80% of all accidents result in because the driver’s attention was divided 3 seconds before the accident. It is quite easy to see why because the number of messages sent increasing substantially year after year. Unless something drastic is done this will be a real problem on the roads.
Educating people may not be enough alone either. The enforcement and penalties may be the way to go. About 95% of people surveyed know that it is dangerous to text and drive. Nonetheless they still confirm that around 35% of them read or sent at least one while they should be watching the road.
The problem with lack of enforcement is that people believe they can get away with it. According to patrol officers many of them do not even bother to hide what they are doing. Some of the tell tales are; holding phone to face, staring at the laps, slowing down, missing traffic signals and wavering in and out of lanes.
These behaviours will help police to spot more people. The laws are rapidly changing in this direction. While one or two states may not still have laws in place to make holding cell phones illegal majority of them consider it a moving violation. This changes things considerably as the ticket would be registered in your driving record.
Auto insurers would then be able to see them and increase rates. This is especially the case after the second offence. The first offence may only increase rates around ten percent but the second one can shoot up car insurance rates as much as forty percent.
Some authorities are now actively looking for motorists in an effort to catch them while texting. They use unmarked high SUVs to check and see if you are engaged in any typing or your eyes glued to it. Also, federal funds are available to put spotters on the highway bridges to spot them and tell the waiting police officers down the road. You are now more likely to;
- Get caught as a result of these efforts. The number of tickets has increased tenfold on test areas these schemes are in place. It will sooner or later come to your town.
- Federal government is offering more money for enforcement. Some states consider it a traffic offence and this will be registered on records. Also, the penalties for repeat offenders will be higher.
- Getting such a ticket will affect vehicle insurance premiums. Currently, in many jurisdictions they go down as a fine and you are all right as far as insurance concerned if you pay it. But this is fast changing as the dangers are documented with more studies and statistical data.
You should learn to handle texting appropriately when driving before they catch you. Also, you should not allow it to be a regular habit. There are apps and phone settings to stop you being tempted. You may want to take advantage of them if you cannot help yourself.