News Release

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TFC Michael Murriell
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Kentucky State Police
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New texting law

Date of News Release: 01/03/2011

(Ashland, Ky.) -- The Kentucky State Police in Ashland wants to remind citizens the grace period for courtesy notices only on KRS 189.292 and KRS 189.294 (Texting Laws) expired January 1, 2011. Effective January 1st 2011, the Kentucky State Police will begin citing violations of these offenses. KRS 189.292 prohibits drivers from texting while their vehicle is in motion. For drivers who are under eighteen, KRS 189.294 goes a step further by prohibiting both texting and cell phone use for this age group.

The texting prohibition does not apply to persons using a GPS feature of a device; reading, selecting, or entering of a name into the device; a person operating a public safety vehicle when using the device as an essential function of their official duties; or when a motor vehicle operator is summoning law enforcement, medical help, reporting a crime, or attempting to prevent injury by using the device. The section prohibiting a minor from using any personal communications device is only subject to an exception for summoning medical help or law enforcement or public safety personnel.

These new laws were put in place to place the drivers' focus back on the road instead of an electronic device. Drivers who are texting are 23 percent more likely to be in a crash and often display the driving characteristics of a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol.

Drivers who violate the new law will be fined $25 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense, plus court costs.

Additionally, the following are nationwide statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • NHTSA states that driver distraction is the leading cause in most crashes.
  • Texting or using a cell phone takes the drivers focus off the road. For instance, if you are driving on the interstate at:
    • 70 mph, your vehicle has traveled 102 feet during that one second.
    • 55 mph, your vehicle has traveled 80 feet during that one second.
    • 35 mph, your vehicle has traveled 35 feet during that one second.
  • In 2008, almost 20 percent of all crashes in the year involved some form of distraction. (NHTSA)
  • The number of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of fatal crashes has increased from 8 percent (2004) to 11 percent (2008). (NHTSA)
  • Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent on near crashes involve some form of distraction within three seconds before the event. (NHTSA)
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent (Carnegie Mellon).
  • Hand-held or hands-free cell phone use while driving delays reaction time as much as having a BAC of .08 percent. (University of Utah).
  • Drivers who are texting are 23 percent more likely to be in a crash and often display the driving characteristics of a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol. (National Insurance Institute).
  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in U.S. crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)

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