State Troopers crack down on texting and driving - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Troopers crack down on people texting and driving

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

When addressing the problem of texting and driving,  most would point the finger at young drivers, but that's not always where the problem lies.

"The first thought is that teenagers would be the biggest culprit," said Sergeant Steve Jarrett with the Department of Public Safety,  "But research has shown that adults are equally as bad at texting while driving."

It's a dangerous and deadly habit, and it's also against the law. However, if you take a look around, it's really easy to spot someone tapping away on their phone behind the wheel.

"I see so many people driving their cars at highway speeds looking down at their lap and they are not looking at what's in front of them and at 55 mph and the average amount of time it takes to text, which is about 4.6 seconds, you are covering the length of a football field not looking where you are going. that is very scary," said Jarrett.

What's even more alarming, if you ask Sergeant Jarrret, is the number of drivers who've lost their lives on Alabama roads. That number currently stands at 439, this year alone, and that does not include fatal crashes investigated by local law enforcement.

Since August 2012, when Alabama's no texting and driving law went into effect, 310 people have been ticketed for breaking the law.

272 of those tickets were issued by State Troopers. The other 38 were handed out in Pelham, Hoover, Oneonta and at The University of Alabama.

"It took a couple of years to get this law passed, we have to start somewhere. I think eventually an all out ban on wireless communication devices, handheld wireless communication devices would definitely reduce traffic fatalities," said Jarrett.

Jarrett said while cell phones keep families connected, they also play a big part in seperating them forever. The hardest part of his job, he says, is notifying families that they've lost a loved one.

"Research has shown that it may even be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. Don't be a statistic, spend tomorrow with your loved one. Put the phone down and focus on the task at hand, which is driving your car and getting home safely," said Jarrett.

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