Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 11, 2013

Texting laws proving tough to enforce

(Continued)

Somerset —

“Most of our citations that have come as a result of texting have come in the form of reckless or careless driving (charges),” said Smith. “... What we have to look at is, texting may be illegal and dialing may not be, but crossing the center lane still is, regardless of the root cause. 
“Even if you’re just reaching over to change the radio station, there’s nothing illegal about that, but it cannot lead to you crossing the center line or missing a red light or a stop sign,” he added. “Those things are still against the law. We may not know why you ran a red light or crossed the road ... but the end result is what it is. We can still proceed with careless or reckless driving (charges).”
Rather than citations that would end up in court, Somerset Police have mostly “issued a lot of warnings” for instances where a person may be using their phone while driving.
“Being able to differentiate between dialing and texting isn’t easy,” said Smith. “(Officers) will which a person over a period of time. It’s not that you can get behind them and look through the back glass and tell exactly what they’re doing (but) officers will observe them. It’s very ease on U.S. 27 to stay beside somebody and keep a watchful eye over them.”
Of course, Smith noted that officers need to be mindful of their own driving while doing this and “not creating more of a problem.”
Smith said that all cruisers are equipped with video cameras that help document the reason for a traffic stop. “If questions are ever raised in court, we can back up our claims with video evidence,” he noted, specifically referring to reckless driving cases.
Whatever you’re doing on the phone, if you’re doing it while behind the wheel, officers will consider that a sign of distracted driving — and will be keeping a close eye on you.

Text Only
Local News
News Live
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks