Police: texting and driving a growing problem

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Police say it is a growing problem, but it is hard to catch.

Studies show texting while driving is causing big problems on the roads, but law enforcement officials are having a hard time keeping up.

Texting is a growing form of communication, but law enforcement officials say it is causing problems behind the wheel.

"You're looking at your device. you look up and you see what you're doing and by the time you put your foot on the brake you've already traveled several hundred feet, and it could result in an accident," said Johnson County Chief Deputy Kevin Pelphrey.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says texting and driving increases crash risk 23 times and that drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes that cause injury.

"We've had people in Johnson County that's wrecked a motor vehicle that has died from the accident due to sending a text message," said Johnson County Deputy Tim Clark.

Officials say the solution is simple: put your phone down, and if you get a text pull over before you read it or respond.

"It only takes that split second taking your eye off the road. Some child could dart in front of you. Your vehicle may sway to the left or to the right," said Clark.

Officials say in Kentucky nearly 200 people died in 2011 because of distracted driving, but since laws were enacted that same year against texting and driving fewer than one thousand people have been cited.

"You see like their shoulders and their head and they'll hold the phone below the line of sight," said Pelphrey.

They say that makes it increasingly difficult to fight the growing problem.

In Kentucky it is illegal for anyone to text while their vehicle is moving, and it is illegal for anyone under 18 to use a cell phone at all while driving.

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