Anti-texting bans should carry heavier penalties for violators

Posted on May 24, 2010

A texting ban in California has proven ineffective, leading many to believe that the penalties need to be tougher against those who violate the law.

The ban was enacted just over a year ago and at that time officials saw a 70 percent drop in the number of incidents of texting while driving. That percentage today has more than doubled, bringing it almost back to the level it was before the ban.

These numbers have discouraged safety advocates and law enforcement. Texting while driving is a dangerous activity to engage in. Studies estimate that if you text while you drive, you increase your change of becoming involved in accident by 24 times. States across the country have hoped that a texting ban would encourage safer driving habits.

Researchers believe that additional efforts must taken on. One approach is for law enforcement to issue more citations to drivers who text. However, these drivers are often difficult to spot because they more often than not hold their phones in their laps while they drive, which is out of view for patrol cars. Most texting while driving citations are given out by police officers on motorcycles who can better detect drivers' activities.

In New Jersey, law enforcement uses standing officers on street corners to locate drivers violating the texting ban. Other places have increased the cost of penalties and the weight they carry. A bill in Southern California proposes that a point should be added to the license of a driver caught texting while operating a motor vehicle. Officials believe that if the bans carry real consequences, drivers will be more likely to obey the law.

























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