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Video: What’s Hindering Enforcement of Some Texting Bans

January 08, 2016

VIDEO: Enforcement of Virginia's Texting Ban

In states where texting while driving is prohibited but other handheld phone use remains legal, some law enforcement agencies report that they’ve struggled to enforce the texting ban — for good reason.

How can a patrol officer tell for certain whether a driver is dialing a phone number, using GPS navigation, or illegally texting? In Virginia, for example, only the latter is illegal. The officer would need to be close enough to actually see what’s on the phone screen — and that’s awfully close.

A new Virginia state bill proposes higher penalties for violations of the existing law, but this change still wouldn't address what’s hindering enforcement, police report.

What’s more, in Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota, the texting bans are secondary enforcement laws. In other words, an officer can only issue a ticket for the texting offense if the driver has been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding.

To view a video report about the issue from CBS 6 WTVR in Virginia, click on the photo or link below the headline.

To view a video report from WJAX-TV News in Florida, click here.

To view a chart of the different state distracted-driving laws, you can click here.   

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