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Police Find Texting and Driving Bans Difficult to Enforce

Posted on in Car Accidents

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyThe advent of text messaging and the rapid spread of smartphones has led to a common problem, texting and driving. People who are texting and driving take their eyes and concentration off the road and that can cause deadly accidents. In response, numerous states have passed laws making it illegal to text and drive; however, these bans are proving challenging for police officers to enforce. In fact, a local Wisconsin news station recently compiled the citation statistics for the four years that the ban has been in place. It turns out that the state police have only issued 229 citations during that entire period.

The Problem with Texting and Driving

The core problem with texting and driving, apart from the fact that it takes people's eyes off the road, is in the way the human brain multitasks. Although the expression “multitasking” is common enough and many people brag about their skill at it, the actual phenomenon itself is something of a myth. People can certainly do multiple things at once, but the brain cannot. Instead, the brain rapidly switches back and forth between the two tasks. At the speed that it does this switching, it seems like multitasking, but the problem is that the constant switching takes a toll on the brain's abilities. What this means for texting and driving is that even when a person is looking at the road, his or her divided attention is preventing him or her from seeing about half of what is going on in his or her visual field. This sort of carelessness can cause accidents, and it is what led the state legislature to pass the texting ban.

Enforcement Difficulties

While a ban on texting and driving sounds good in theory, police officers are finding it more difficult to enforce. There are two factors that come together to make this law so difficult to put into action on the ground. First, people are allowed to still use their phones to make calls. This means that an officer who sees someone drive by with a phone in his or her hand might be violating the law, or he or she might simply be dialing a number and putting the phone on speaker. Second, even when the officer believes that he or she has seen someone texting, it can be difficult to prove. Catching texting is not like catching speeding. The officer cannot prove it using special equipment. It relies largely on the person's admitting to the crime. Additionally, because police are not allowed to look through a person's phone without a warrant, they cannot check text message time stamps during the traffic stop.

Texting and driving is a dangerous activity that can lead to serious car accidents. If another driver's careless texting has injured you, reach out to an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney today.

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