Curious About Texting And Driving Tickets

BOSTON (CBS) – The law says we can’t text and drive, but are we listening?

Are police writing many tickets?

Next week, it’ll be six months since the texting ban went into effect.

John in West Roxbury Declared his Curiosity, saying that he still sees “…a significant number of people texting as they drive!”

New numbers are out on how many people have been caught.

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports

On Storrow Drive, one driver is all over the place. He was fiddling with his phone, though he hides it.

“I’m not that smart. I can’t do both at once,” said the man. “I didn’t text. I was just trying to find something.”

It’s hard to prove what that man was doing on his phone, and police said that makes the law tough to enforce.

In October, the first month of the texting law, police handed out 133 citations for texting while driving, but then the number dropped.

Every month since, it’s been slightly more than half that.

Drivers under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to have phones behind the wheel at all. In October, police nabbed 11 junior operators. But last month, statewide, they got one.

“I think we have found it’s not as simple as folks think it is,” said Chief Mark Leahy of the Northboro Police Department.

Chief Leahy is the president of the chiefs of police. Why does he think the numbers fell?

“It’s not the priority it was six months ago, but it’s certainly an important tool for us in keeping the public safe,” said Chief Leahy.

Does that mean the new law is not a priority?

“Any time we roll out a new violation, there’s an initial media push and a push on behalf of the police departments, but then we need to get back to daily life,” said Chief Leahy.

Could it be that fewer citations mean fewer people are texting?

“That would indicate the law is working,” said Chief Leahy.

While citations are down, the chief indicated he didn’t think there were any fewer offenders.

This doesn’t mean it’s a bad law.

Maybe in another six months, the numbers will tell a different story.

More from David Wade

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