"It Can Wait" day renews push for penalties

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A distracted driving simulator shows what Franklin County High School student, Lauren Hogan, sees all the time.

"Most of my friends text and drive and the thought that they could crash is one of the scariest thing I encounter every day," said Hogan.

That's why police officers, lawmakers and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced a push for tougher penalties for distracted driving, including increasing the ticket from $25-50 and prohibiting cell phone use in school and construction zones.

The state of Kentucky already has increased points being taken off your license if you're caught texting behind the wheel.

Under the new enforcement, drivers face three points for each no texting violation and risk a suspended license for too many within a two-year period.

In 2011, Kentucky State Police issued 314 citations and arrested 45 people. In 2012, the number jumped to 561 citations and 59 arrests. So far this year, 351 people have been cited and 45 have gone to jail.

For concerned students like Hogan, it's a good disincentive she hopes will keep her friends from continuing a dangerous trend.

"Once people stop and realize and they get pulled over and realize what they're doing is wrong, that's what's going to stop this from happening every day," she said.

Kentucky lost out on $100,000 worth of federal grants recently because state law says drivers can't legally text while "a motor vehicle is in motion."

But, Congress' definition of "texting while driving" includes when a vehicle is temporarily stopped.

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