jenrgw Are Texting Bans Enforceable?

Many people in Missoula, Minnesota don’t think so.  It’s been more than a year since a local ordinance went into effect banning texting and driving.  Yet, officers report that very few tickets have been written and that it is extremely difficult to enforce the ordinance.  Approximately 12 tickets were written in the first year that the ordinance was in effect.

Why is the law so hard to enforce?

According to Missoula police officers, it is difficult to enforce the texting while driving ban because officers don’t know what people are doing on their phones.  There is currently no ordinance that prevents a driver from dialing a phone while driving, checking his or her contacts while driving, or even using the internet while driving.  So, when an officer observes a driver looking down at his or her phone or even using the phone, there is nothing that the officer can do unless the officer has reason to believe the driver is using the phone for texting.

Does this mean texting bans shouldn’t be in place?

The Missoula police officers and others do not advocate for the repeal of the texting ban – just a broadening of it to include other distracted driving activities so that more accidents can be prevented.

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