MILLEDGEVILLE — Since the enactment of the state’s texting while driving law, which prohibits the act behind the wheel of a vehicle, few local offenders have been cited.
Baldwin County is not alone.
According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 2012, out of the 39 states that have laws that ban texting while driving, a driver stands little chance of getting ticketed for texting with some state agencies averaging fewer than one citation per day.
“No one seems to really know how often police are writing texting citations,” says Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently via press release. “We’re noticing that there’s a general perception that there isn’t much enforcement at all.”
According to data from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, this year there have been a total of seven citations written and 14 since the law was passed in 2010. Georgia State Patrol troopers have given out between five to 10 citations in Baldwin County for this year thus far.
The Georgia law, which became the law of the land in July 2010, prohibits drivers from using a wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle on the public road or highway. The fine for violation is set by statute at $150 and one point on the driver’s record.
The AAA study on texting while driving laws also indicates that most drivers feel the law applies more to teen drivers, rather than experienced adult motorists.
“Highway safety advocates across the country are waiting on conclusive data that indicates if texting on cell phones is more dangerous than talking on them. Until then, there is clear data that teen drivers are the most easily distracted drivers and parents should discourage these inexperienced motorists from using cell phones while driving, regardless if they are talking or texting,” Kissinger said.