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Officers On Lookout For Drivers Distracted By Texting

cell phone in car
IntelFree Press

Starting Tuesday, texting while driving becomes a secondary offense. That means motorists who do it must be stopped, or certain they don’t make another driving mistake.

“It could be many, many things. It could be speeding. It could be an equipment violation—anything like that,” said Tallahassee police Department spokesman David Northway.

Northway says he thinks the purpose behind the new law is to make people think twice before texting behind the wheel – something he says is dangerous and can be linked to accidents. And while he says enforcement could be problematic, it’s not impossible.

“So, if we respond to a traffic crash and the driver of the first vehicle says ‘it wasn’t my fault,’ and the driver of the second vehicle says ‘it wasn’t my fault,’ when the police officer gets there, the accident is already over. So, they don’t know what happened. So, we rely on witnesses, so if someone who is not involved in the traffic crash says I saw the driver of the first vehicle texting just before she ran into the back of the other vehicle, that would be something we could use.”

Northway says officers using radar to check for speeders might also take note of whether a person is texting as he or she drives past.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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