Crime & Courts

Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Texting while driving laws might have unintended consequences

Friday, April 20, 2012 10:11 AM
Last updated Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:14 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

The ban of texting while driving might have had unexpected consequences.



A September 2010 survey by the Highway Loss Data Institute showed that crashes increased in three out of four states studied that had enacted texting bans.

The study concluded that the increase was most likely the result of drivers lowering their phones into their laps. Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Randy Prickett said he is also seeing drivers lowering their phones to avoid the watchful eyes of deputies.

The 2011 AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index showed that 95 percent of drivers viewed texting or e-mailing while driving as a serious threat to their safety yet 35 percent of the same drivers reported texting or e-mailing while driving in the past month.

“It’s a very hard charge to prove,” Prickett said. “You have to actually see them doing it.”

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have banned text messaging for all drivers. On July 1, 2010, Georgia passed the law that stated cellphone usage to write, send or read text data to include texting,
e-mails and Internet usage is illegal. All cellphone usage is illegal for any driver under 18 years old.

Prickett said drivers can volunteer to show their phones to an officer to prove their innocence. Otherwise, deputies have to obtain a search warrant.

In 2011, Richmond County deputies wrote 17 citations under the texting ban.

No citations were issued in Columbia County, which has a policy to warn drivers before ticketing.

“Sheriff (Clay) Whittle wants to give everyone time to understand the law,” said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris. “It’s not a matter of issuing citations. It’s a matter of educating drivers.”

Prickett said Richmond County has been able to prove that two accidents were related to texting. One was the fatal crash of 18-year-old Jewel Miller, who died in a single vehicle crash on Hephzibah McBean Road five weeks before the law went into effect in Georgia.

Deputies have not been able to prove several other fatal crashes involved texting. Prickett said they suspect it was a factor in a March 16 crash where Gloria Jenkins, 27, crossed the center line on Peach Orchard Road and hit a tractor-trailer head-on and a Feb. 14, 2011, crash where Brooke Moye, 17, hit the back of a AT&T utility truck on Jimmie Dyess Parkway. Authorities said Moye never applied the brakes.

“A lot of times when you come up on an accident and there are no skids you know they were distracted with something,” Prickett said.

Deputies can sometimes narrow down that drivers were texting near the time of the accident, but they can’t determine whether they were texting at the time of the accident.

An open screen might be an indicator, but often phones are flung during the crash and are in pieces when officers arrive on the scene.

Comments (11) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 04/20/12 - 10:12 am
0
1
I catch myself texting while

I catch myself texting while driving.. ugh, ingrained behavior. So.. hard.. to.. stop.

Boudreaux
127
Points
Boudreaux 04/20/12 - 10:49 am
5
1
Studies prove it's as

Studies prove it's as dangerous as drunk driving.The same punishment as a dui would make people think twice.

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 04/20/12 - 11:03 am
4
0
VAST majority of texting
Unpublished

VAST majority of texting drivers are ONE gender, anyone care to guess?

BamaMan
2687
Points
BamaMan 04/20/12 - 11:19 am
4
0
daphne, I'll just take a jab,

daphne, I'll just take a jab, teenage females?

Cdr4500
21
Points
Cdr4500 04/20/12 - 12:21 pm
3
0
"VAST majority of texting
Unpublished

"VAST majority of texting drivers are ONE gender, anyone care to guess?"

Oh please! Lets not even make this a gender issue. Everyday when I'm out driving I see just as many males looking at their stupid phones while driving as I do females!

Dixieman
17589
Points
Dixieman 04/20/12 - 12:56 pm
2
0
Duh! EVERY LAW and

Duh! EVERY LAW and regulation has unanticipated, unintended (and bad) consequences.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 04/20/12 - 02:33 pm
1
0
public transit.
Unpublished

public transit.

tanbaby
1306
Points
tanbaby 04/20/12 - 04:28 pm
1
0
how about the big rig drivers
Unpublished

how about the big rig drivers that do it to???? i've seen that one...talk about a dangerous situation !!!!

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 04/20/12 - 04:42 pm
0
1
The woman who rear-ended my

The woman who rear-ended my six-foot high, seven foot wide bright WHITE Avalanche said she didn't see me. The deputy asked if she had been on the phone (which was open on the passenger side floormat). She said she hadn't; you decide. As we were both insured by the same company, he filed a traffic report and nothing else came of it.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/20/12 - 08:12 pm
0
2
I said it before and I'll say

I said it before and I'll say it again.... One of the dumbest laws ever.

copperhead
1035
Points
copperhead 04/21/12 - 02:38 am
0
2
We need to do away with ALL

We need to do away with ALL laws and depend on everyone to be kinder and more gentle. EVERYONE is moral enough to be trusted to do the "right" thing! silly laws! nobody obeys them anyway! just let everyone "self-govern" their own actions and feel good! just think,no more reasons to have prisons! all that money saved so it can go to the entitlement crowd!

RoadkiII
6807
Points
RoadkiII 04/21/12 - 04:40 am
4
0
There is a new law for

There is a new law for commercial vehicles. It bans texting and talking without a hands free device. The fine......... $2700. I agree with it except for one thing. It doesn't apply to private vehicles. Just a little discrimination there. Make it for everybody, no matter what you drive.

Techfan
6462
Points
Techfan 04/21/12 - 06:17 am
0
1
Waiting for the "Don't Darn

Waiting for the "Don't Darn Your Socks and Drive Bill".

JRC2024
10537
Points
JRC2024 04/21/12 - 06:28 am
0
1
I am guilty.

I am guilty.

meginlea
36
Points
meginlea 04/21/12 - 08:12 am
3
0
Actually, 'big rig' drivers

Actually, 'big rig' drivers are not allowed to talk on their phones without a Bluetooth any longer, much less text. My father is the Martinez/Evans area 'Snap-on Man.' He had to get a Bluetooth in order to make calls while driving his truck because it's a new law.

Probably best to just outlaw any phone usage while driving unless ones uses a Bluetooth- that's how it is here in NY and many other states like Massachusetts I believe (could be mistaking). But then again, I've heard the argument that it's not the dialing of a number on the phone that distracts people; rather, it's the conversation they get all wound up in that keeps them from concentrating on driving.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 04/21/12 - 08:13 am
1
0
I am the last to want

I am the last to want government regs on more things, but imagine requiring drivers under 21 to have a hands free voice activated texting/calling device in the car when driving. It could be a device that attaches to the windshield like GPS devices where it is readily visible for officers to see. Hands free texting/calling is built in to my car, but most teens don't drive late model cars. I don't see another way to get their hand and eyes off of their phones when driving.

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 04/21/12 - 10:01 am
1
0
BamaMan: You win!!!!!!!
Unpublished

BamaMan: You win!!!!!!!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/21/12 - 10:19 am
1
1
How is the law NOT dumb? 1)

How is the law NOT dumb?

1) You cannot text and drive, but you can surf the Web and drive. It's completely arbitrary and, consequently, dumb. Period.

2) Cops operate laptops and radios while driving all the time and that is a good thing. Some people are capable drivers. Others aren't. Punish dumb drivers. Don't punish everyone. That's why we have driver's licenses.

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 04/22/12 - 11:35 am
1
0
How LONGGGG is this article
Unpublished

How LONGGGG is this article going to be on the front page of the Online Edition? Sheesh!

Cdr4500
21
Points
Cdr4500 04/22/12 - 12:35 pm
1
0
On this texting while driving
Unpublished

On this texting while driving issue: It's obvious that even though we all know how dangerous it is that these laws aren't going to make the majority of people stop doing it. So why can't car companies just start adding a feature to all new vehicles that makes it to where cell phones cannot be operated once the engine is started? I know we've got the technology to do it and it seems like it may be the only way to help with this issue. And when your teen gets to driving age you don't have to buy him/her a new car to get this technology. You can get the device installed on older models too. I know parents who've done it. It just seems like this issue could be so simply solved but no one wants to do it.

TrulyWorried
16708
Points
TrulyWorried 04/22/12 - 01:50 pm
0
0
I am totally against

I am totally against talking/texting while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Pull over if it is THAT urgent. You can use the excuse, well I have a hands free phone or- just like talking to a passenger in the car with me - not so!! Two pairs of eyes on the road are better than one pair. My humble, personal opinion. I pull over if I have to absolutely make a call - otherwise - what is so urgent that it can't wait? Used to not have this convenience and all was well with the world, well, partially. Wishing everyone a good week ahead!

daphne3520
953
Points
daphne3520 04/23/12 - 09:47 am
1
0
Please, please read and
Unpublished

Please, please read and assimilate this!!!!

http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120423/NEWS10/120423010/Hang-up-drive-State-Police-targets-drivers-cell-phones?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

City inspectors look to demolish Goodale House

Rob Sherman, director of Augusta's License and Inspection Department, said his staff plans to ask a State Court judge in early 2015 to order the endangered property, which was built in 1799 and is ...
Search Augusta jobs