In honor of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and law enforcement agencies are asking drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel as part of the ‘One Text or Call Could Wreck It All’ campaign.
While anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, the risk of texting while driving causes heightened concern because it combines all three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive.
Violating Kentucky’s texting law, which took effect April 15, 2010, can be costly. Violators are liable for fines of $25 on a first offense and $50 on each subsequent offense, plus court costs.
The law bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is in motion. For drivers over 18, the law allows the use of GPS devices and reading and selecting or entering a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a phone call. Texting is allowed only to report illegal activity or to request medical or emergency aid.
For drivers under 18, no use of personal communication devices, such as cell phones and pagers, is allowed while the vehicle is in motion. The use of GPS is allowed, but manually entering information must be completed while the car is stopped.
In Kentucky, there were more than 57,000 crashes last year, resulting in 14,600 injuries and 147 fatalities due to distracted driving.
An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80% of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.
To see a Distracted Driving Prevention Guide, click here.
(This story was originally published on March 29, 2018)