Texting and Driving law difficult to enforce - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Texting and Driving law difficult to enforce

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By: Samantha Lavien
Slavien@abc6.com
Twitter: @samanthalavien

Over the past three years Pawtucket Police issued 53 texting while driving citations. City police say the the law is a difficult one to enforce. The low ticket number is a trend seen in many Rhode Island cities and towns.

"I think one of the hardest things to do is figure out if they were actually composing or sending a text message to begin with,” said Pawtucket Police Sgt. Teddy Georgitsis.

The law is  very narrow, applying only to sending or receiving messages. That means if you are dialing your phone or programming your GPS the law doesn't necessarily apply.

"I haven't written one. It is that difficult," said Georgitsis.

Police say even if they suspect someone of texting, which can be difficult to spot, they're not legally allowed to take someone's phone to prove that they were. That means in many cases the person driving has to admit to an officer that they were texting in order to face a penalty.

"Anything can happen in a split second. You don't realize it but, all it takes is your tire to veer off a certain way," said Ryan McCann whose brother was killed in a texting while driving accident three years ago.

McCann says he does understand why it's difficult for police to enforce, but he wants drivers to take responsibility for their actions and realize the dangers sending a simple message can have.

"I lost my brother best friend, 1- years-old in the back of a car,” said McCann.

Sgt. Georgitsis says if the law were broadened to include more forms of distracted driving, it would likely be easier for police to enforce.


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