Ban on texting-while-driving has yielded few tickets but may have halted rise in accidents

02/07/2012 07:44 AM

After a year of citing drivers for texting while driving, Kentucky police have issued just a few hundred tickets but Kentucky has seen a slight drop in accidents caused by distracted driving.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed the law in 2010 and police began issuing warnings to drivers they found texting or emailing from their phones while driving on the road in July 2010. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, they began issuing tickets. Last year, police doled out 309 texting citations resulting in 44 arrests. Last month, they gave out 34 citations resulting in 4 arrests.

Police say the law is sometimes hard to enforce. But they hope it is at least deterring people from multitasking with their phones while driving. A grieving mother and father from Texas recently visited Cooper High School in Boone County to reinforce the dangers of doing that to one of the most vulnerable populations: young drivers.

The Kentucky State Police doesn’t keep statistics for accidents caused by texting while driving, but it is one of the factors in a wider category of accidents caused by “distracted” driving. Such instances have significantly increased since 2007 before dropping slightly last year:

  • 2007 — 4,443 crashes with 11 fatalities
  • 2008 — 4,899 crashes with 27 fatalities
  • 2009 — 5,663 crashes with 19 fatalities
  • 2010 — 6,183 crashes with 24 fatalities
  • 2011 — 5,942 with 17 fatalities

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