Texting and driving still a problem 4 years after being made ill - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Texting and driving still a problem 4 years after being made illegal

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Four years after Georgia made it illegal to text and drive, law officers and drivers say it still  continues to be one of the biggest safety issue on the roads. 

Georgia state officials say there have been 4, 360 convictions through March for texting and driving citations. But is that really just a drop in the bucket for the number of drivers who break the law, putting everyone on the roads in danger.

Matt Hall says it's easy to spot a driver in traffic texting and driving, and he stays on guard.

Hall said "It's a problem. It's a problem.  I've seen a lot of accidents, and I've seen a lot of people run in the back of people because they had the phone up."

Dougherty County Police Sgt. Robert Richards said while he is on patrol he also sees drivers texting often, even checking their e-mails, while going 55 miles per hour.  

Richards said "They are doing what they can to avoid detection by law enforcement.  But once again it's a continuous battle that we are going to have to try to enforce."

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says in 2012  3, 328 people were killed nationally in distracted driving collisions....and an estimated 421 thousand injured. Officials say drivers in their 20's make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.  

Cops say it's easy to spot a texting and driving crash.

Richards said "People have run off the road, car flips, crash into objects such as a tree or guard rail.  If there is not other type of impairment that they have, then we can tell whether they were paying attention or not."

And officers say the biggest headache for them is knowing how unnecessary the injuries or the deaths related to texting and driving are.  The simple answer is to just wait till you reach your destination to answer your messages....but some drivers seem to be unwilling. Matt Hall says he will drive more defensively, to protect himself.

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration says 25 percent of teens admit they answer at least one text message every time they drive.  10 percent of parents admit they are bad role models, having extended, multi message text conversations when they drive.

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