Texting While Driving Causes Major Hang-Up for Law Enforcement

Texting While Driving Causes Major Hang-Up for Law Enforcement

<p><span style="font-size: x-small;"> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: x-small;">It's not unsusual to catch distracted drivers swerving in and out of lanes as they talk on their cell phone, but recent AAA studies show texting while driving can be much more dangerous.</span></p><p></p>

It's perhaps the latest hang-up among law enforcement officials, as more people begin to carry smart phones, texting while driving becomes a major concern.

"It's not like we're intoxicated or anything," said Karac Bennett, a local driver.

Bennett says he's the master of multi-tasking.

"It's like adjusting the radio," said Bennett.

He's just one of thousands of drivers in the Big Country who admit they text while driving.

"It's like typing on a keyboard, you don't have to look at the keyboard when you type," said Bennett, "I don't have to look at my phone when I text either."

Armed with smart phones and unlimited text messaging plans, there's no question that texting while driving is a dangerous habit popular with young drivers.

"I don't do it a lot," confesses Vitaly Deakin, another young driver, "but there are occasions when I do, do it."

"Bad enough talking on a cell phone much less texting," said Samuel Norred, another driver.

According to AAA drivers who send text messages behind the wheel are up to four times more likely to get into an accident, and the issue is not a matter of age.

"I can't look at the phone and look at the highway that's for sure," said Norred.

"I said 'look at him! He's texting while driving!'" said Mary Norred, Sam's wife.

Sam Norred says he sends the occasional text message when he's on the road, but when Norred and his wife caught a driver of an 18-wheeler swerving next to them on I-20, they experienced a big change of heart.

"I think it ought to be illegal," said Norred.

Banning texting while driving is a growing trend among many cities across Texas, including Stephenville.   Abilene has not considered a texting ban yet, but local officers say enforcing the law is still a major challenge.  

The only statewide bans against cell phone use are for teenage drivers, and anyone crossing an active school zone. Despite the dangers, many young drivers, like Bennett still have their smart phones at hand.

"I think you should have to take a class and qualify to be able to text and drive," said Bennett.

"I think it's okay to text and drive, as long as you know you can do it," said Deakin.

Law enforcement officials say either way cell phones are a distraction that can cost a life. Regardless of how well you multi-task, law enforcement officials still urge everyone, especially young drivers, to put their cell phones down.

The AAA findings show drivers will take their eyes off the road for up to 5-seconds as they send a text message. Law enforcement officials say all it takes is a split second for an accident to happen.

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