Enforce the ban on texting while drivingNorth Dakota has a ban on texting while driving. The ban was driven by close calls and accidents involving drivers who were distracted by texting. Lawmakers responded to frustration from the motoring public. The ban took effect Aug. 1, 2011.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota has a ban on texting while driving. The ban was driven by close calls and accidents involving drivers who were distracted by texting. Lawmakers responded to frustration from the motoring public.
The ban took effect Aug. 1, 2011.
One of the points of opposition to the texting-while-driving ban was that it would be hard to enforce.
Recently the Fargo Police Department took on that challenge. The department parked an officer in a regular car at a key intersection. According to the Fargo Forum, the officer watched for “tell-tale signs — the driver looking down for an extended period of time, using both thumbs to type more than 10 digits or typing without eventually holding the phone up to their ear.”
Once the suspected driving texter was spotted, other officers in police cruisers would pull the vehicles over and write tickets.
The Fargo operation was like speed traps the Bismarck Police Department operates. On a recent Sunday afternoon, Bismarck police had an officer on foot in the weeds along Expressway operating a radar gun, with three patrol cars working the speeders coming off Expressway bridge into Bismarck. They were writing tickets as fast as they could get into position.
The Fargo police wrote 17 tickets over two days; not an earth-shattering number. But once people understand that they could get picked up for driving while texting, it might make them follow the law.
Some people find police enforcement tactics like this annoying, that it’s somehow not fair or that they are being picked on. To avoid the inconvenience and annoyance, they might try following the rules.
Should Bismarck and Mandan police departments start running texting-while-driving enforcement efforts like the Fargo department? People who have had close calls with distracted drivers would likely say, “Go for it.”
The truth of the matter is that drivers distracted by texting or their cellphones or anything else are dangerous to the rest of the people on the road.
With driving comes a responsibility to be safe and follow the rules of the road. Heightened enforcement of the driving-while-texting ban would be a good thing for everyone.
Too often those close calls with distracted drivers turn into something worse.