Texting while driving laws prove difficult to enforce - WSMV Channel 4

Texting while driving laws prove difficult to enforce

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Texting and driving has been illegal in Tennessee for more than two years now, but the number of people caught in the act is very low.

We've all seen perpetrators texting while driving and, some of you may even do it. And with the law being difficult to enforce, authorities are now turning to a different strategy.

"It's hard to prove that they were texting. It's enough reason to stop someone and ask them, and if they say, 'No, I was dialing a number,' you kind of have to go with that," Sgt. Matt Perry, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.

Since January 2010, THP has issued a total of 296 citations for texting while driving.

Metro police have issued 73 citations since the law took effect in July 2009, with 31 of those this year.

The police department conducted a few patrols to specifically try and catch texters, and while they didn't issue many citations they believe it was a success on another front.

"I think it was successful in that the information was put out there that we're looking for these kind of things," Sgt. Bob Sheffield of Metro Police said.

So with enforcement being difficult comes the strategy of education, especially to teens.

THP staged a stock car crash Thursday at a high school in Lawrenceburg to show the deadly consequences of texting while driving.

Metro police have started teenage driver awareness courses. The classes are free and very popular. Distracted driving is a topic that police discuss with young drivers thoroughly.

"The classes have been extremely successful, at least the feedback from the young people in these classes," Sgt. Sheffield said.

If you are interested in one of the classes, which run Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., contact Erika Bowden at 615-862-7738 or erika.bowden@nashville.gov. The classes are held at 1417 Murfreesboro Pike and are limited to 25 participants each week.

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