By Kirstin Delgado
COLUMBUS, GA - MOST PEOPLE WOULD ADMIT THAT THEY HAVE DRIVEN DISTRACTED, "I mean I've done it, I've talked on the phone while driving….texting I don't really like doing while driving."
WHAT DOES THAT TERM REALLY MEAN? MOST CORRELATE DISTRACTED DRIVING WITH THE USE OF A CELL PHONE, BUT WHAT IS THE LAW'S DEFINITION OF DISTRACTED DRIVING AND CAN YOU REALLY BE PENALIZED FOR IT? IN GEORGIA THE ANSWER IS YES…
"We've had some fatalities involving texting while driving….it's pretty much a site on charge that you have to be sure about and we make several throughout the day "
IN EVERY CITY OF EVERY STATE, MOTORISTS ARE DRIVING DISTRACTED. WHETHER THAT BE DRIVING WHILE EATING, DRIVING WHILE DRINKING OR THE MOST COMMON FORM OF DRIVING WHILE ALSO OPERATING A CELLULAR DEVICE. ARE THESE ACTIONS ILLEGAL OR JUST FROWNED UPON?
"There is a texting law but there is also a due care law and it's a secondary law where if you are charged with some moving violation…if you're distracted while you're doing this or even talking on a cell phone, you can be charged with due care and that brings a penalty also."
NBC 38 WENT OUT LOOKING FOR ANSWERS TO SEE JUST HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE DRIVING DISTRACTED RIGHT HERE IN THE RIVER VALLEY. WE WENT TO 2 BUSY INTERSECTIONS IN COLUMBUS AND HERE IS WHAT WE FOUND:
IN A MATTER OF ABOUT AN HOUR BETWEEN 8:35 AM AND 9:34 AM ON A WEEKDAY MORNING, WE FOUND 63 MOTORISTS DRIVING WHILE TALKING ON THE PHONE BETWEEN THE INTERSECTIONS OF WHITTLESEY BLVD AND VETERANS PARKWAY AND DOUBLE CHURCHES ROAD AND VETERANS PARKWAY.
WE ALSO FOUND 9 PEOPLE LOOKING AT WHAT WE SUSPECTED COULD BE A CELL PHONE, BUT WE COULD NOT TELL IF THE INDIVIDUALS WERE ACTUALLY TEXTING. THIS BEGS THE QUESTION, IF WE COULDN'T TELL IF THE PERSON WAS ACTUALLY TEXTING WHILE WE WERE STANDING AT THESE INTERSECTIONS WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING A SURVEY OF CELLULAR USE, HOW CAN AN OFFICER TELL IF AN INDIVIDUAL IS TEXTING WHILE BEHIND THE WHEEL?
"This is a charge of a high and aggravated nature and you want to make sure that you're spot on when you make the charge. I know what I saw and I know what I observed you doing and I know without a shadow of a doubt, and when an officer makes that charge they're that positive of that and they should be that positive of that.
WHILE THERE IS NO FORMAL LAW AGAINST ACTIONS LIKE DOING MAKE UP WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING, SGT. WYNN CONFIRMS TO NBC 38 THAT AN OFFICER HAS THE RIGHT TO STOP ANY MOTORIST THAT HE OR SHE FEELS IS DRIVING DISTRACTED.
WLTZ NBC 38
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