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Texting bill signed into law

Kentucky Governor Steve beshear signs a bill, banning texting while driving.

House bill 415 bans texting for all drivers and cell phone use for drivers under 18.

Kentucky recorded more than 57,000 accidents last year due to drivers not paying attention and cell phone use. Governor Beshear says this piece of legislation will help reduce the number of fatalities on Kentucky’s roadways.

Governor Beshear hopes the bill will take one less distraction off the roadways with the signing of House Bill 415.

Some Students at Knott County Central High School say the law could do just that.

“I think it's a good thing,” Matthew Moore says. “I used to text and drive all the time and I realized I was a terrible driver while I did it so I pretty much stopped texting while driving.”

“Everybody does it,” Chris Hicks. “I do it but it's not safe at all and I think people will stop doing it now that it's against the law.”

One police officer we talked to says enforcing the law may be a little difficult.

“You can put it to your ear and talk and it might distract you but as far as you're looking at your cell phone the whole time while you’re texting it's something we definitely need but another thing is too it's going to be a lot harder to enforce,” Perry County Sheriff Deputy Kyle Morgan says.

Morgan says people often use their phones while driving.

“It's going to be hard to determine whether they're actually talking on the cell phone while it's on speaker phone or they're actually texting it at that point you really don't know unless you're already inside the vehicle,” Morgan says. “It's going to be hard to enforce either way.”

Moore says the ban on texting while driving is a good thing for drivers all across Kentucky.

“Calling on the phone and texting while driving really are dangerous things and bad things for people to do,” Moore says.

“It really keeps your eyes of the road, you can't function properly and focus on driving so it's good they passed it,” Rachel Vance says. “I guess there will probably be a lot of people upset, but overall it doesn't affect me because and I don't text while I drive anyway.”

The law goes in to effect January first of next year.

Police will issue warnings until the beginning of the year. After that, drivers caught texting while driving will be fined $25 the first time and $50 each time after that plus court costs.

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It's now against the law to send text messages while driving in Kentucky.

Governor Steve Beshear signed the texting bill Thursday, which also bans cell phone use while driving for anyone younger than 18.

While the new law specifically mentions texting, state highway safety officials say it also applies to emailing, and other means of communication.

Officials say last year, 57,000 crashes in Kentucky were caused by distracted driving.

"More than 200 people died in those crashes," Governor Beshear said Thursday. "that represents over one fourth of all fatalities. These are preventable tragedies. And today we're doing something about it."

Police will issue warnings until January 1.

After that, violators will pay a $25 fine on the first offense, and $50 on any following offenses.


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