Few texting while driving tickets given out in three years
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The 2010 Iowa
law that banned texting while driving was meant to deter bad behavior behind
However, authorities are finding out it's pretty tough to
catch people in the act.
In fact, just ten tickets have been issued by the Sioux City police
department since the law went into effect almost three-and-a-half years ago.
Two in 2010, four in 2011, three in 2012, and only one
A spokesperson for the Woodbury County Sheriff's
Department says they haven't issued any tickets for illegal cell phone use
behind the wheel.
The Iowa State Patrol says their numbers are also
low. Not because people have stopped using their phones on the
road, but because they're getting good at hiding it.
difficult for us to enforce," confirmed the public information officer for the
Iowa State Patrol, Scott Bright.
Since 2010, the Iowa
State Patrol reports writing 181 tickets for using an electronic device while
driving. It's a secondary offence.
"There has to be
something else, maybe speed or no seatbelt, or maybe an equipment violation,"
explained Safety Education Officer, Trooper John Farley.
That's just one of the
challenges of enforcing the three-year-old law.
"We typically work out
on the interstates and the state highways.
It's very difficult at times to witness a violation," said Farley.
Authorities say drivers
have learned to hold their phones out of sight or get rid of them when they see
"We are a moving
billboard so if somebody is in the act of texting while driving and they see,
they're going to put it down," Farley added.
Even though tickets are
rarely written, the law is deterring people from picking up their phones when
they're behind the wheel, right?
"I don't think it
has. No," admitted Bright.
For that to happen,
Bright says the state legislature would have to make this a primary
offense. Then troopers wouldn't have to
rely on watching for swerving or speeding vehicles to make a stop. He says other states that have that law on
the books see a sharp decline in the number of wrecks caused by distracted
driving. But, just because you're more
likely to get away with it in Iowa,
doesn't mean you should. The average
text takes four to five seconds to type and send.
"You look down for four
to five seconds, you've traveled the length of a football field, blindfolded,"
Experts say this bad
behavior is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
"The most important
thing you can do while you're driving is driving," Farley added.
While we often hear
about texting while driving, you can get a ticket for everything from checking
your email to Facebook if you're behind the wheel, whether it's on a cell
phone, smart phone, or tablet.