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Kentucky State Police is preparing for Jan. 1, 2011, when they will begin issuing citations for violations of the texting law that went into effect July 15, 2010. The law (KRS 189.292) will prohibit drivers from texting while their vehicle is in motion.
For drivers who are under eighteen, the law (KRS 189.294) goes a step further by prohibiting both texting and cell phone use for this age group.
Spokesperson for KSP, Lt. David Jude says that the new law was designed to place the drivers’ focus back on the road instead of an electronic device.
“Texting or using a cell phone is a distraction to any driver and we are seeing an increase of distracted related driving crashes in the Commonwealth,” says Jude.
“Drivers who are texting are twenty-three percent more likely to be in a crash and often display the driving characteristics of a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol,” adds Jude.
Drivers who violate the new law will be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense, plus court costs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is leading the effort to put an end to distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and cell phone use. Their key focus is to get motorists to stop engaging in other activities while driving. Just “Put It Down” and concentrate on the road, is the new strategy that they are promoting across the country.
“Everyone needs to be a part of this strategy through public education, law enforcement and safety advocate groups,” says Jude. “Eliminating texting and cell phone use while driving will reduce crashes and more importantly, reduce the number of deaths on Kentucky highways.”
“A text message or cell phone call can wait - but the safety of you, your family and other motorists on the road can’t,” added Jude.
Jude says his branch along with the 16 KSP public affairs officers across the state will be blitzing the airwaves, internet and print media in an effort to get a uniform message out across the state about the new law.
Citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Kentucky State Police toll-free at 1 (800) 222-5555.