Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


May 6, 2013

Few citations

Though difficult to enforce, restrictions serve a purpose

ASHLAND — When the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly approved a bill banning texting while driving and cellphone use for drivers younger than 18, there was widespread public support for both restrictions.

The reasons are obvious. Even many of those foolish enough to send text messages while speeding down the highway will agree it is dangerous to do so. They just think the message they are sending is so important it is worth the risk of either being seriously injured or killed in an accident or being cited and fined for texting while driving.

And while there are many who believe talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerously foolish, regardless of one’s age, just banning inexperienced teenaged drivers from talking on the phone while driving is all a majority of the members of the Kentucky General Assembly were willing to support.

Now, more than two years after the restrictions were put in place, they have both proven to be extremely difficult to enforce. In fact, police officers have issued fewer than 1,000 citations for texting while driving and for driving while talking on a cellphone and being younger than 18.

Police say it’s difficult to tell whether someone is texting or doing something else, such as looking at a digital map. They also say discerning a 17-year-old from an 18-year-old is nearly impossible, making it tough to enforce the law banning cellphone use by younger drivers.

Other states also are having difficulty enforcing their texting-while-driving bans. Increasingly, states are banning all hand-held communication devices while driving, which police say is easier to enforce. Will Kentucky legislators agree to go that far? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, even though the current bans on texting while driving and having drivers younger than 18 from using cellphones are not being vigorously enforced, we still support both restrictions. It should not even take a law for thinking people to realize texting while driving is dangerous, as is any use of cellphones while driving regardless of one’s age. All that should be required is a bit of common sense.

But if the relatively minor restrictions on cellphone use while driving prevent even a handful of accidents by forcing all drivers to pay more attention to the road, then they are worthwhile. You can’t judge the effectiveness of the 2011 law by the number of citations written.   

Text Only
  • Positive trend

    For those adults who have a low opinion of American teenagers, Uncle Sam’s latest study of worrisome behavior among teens provides some good news: Teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex also are declining — and have been since 1991, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started surveying teens about  their behavior.

    July 24, 2014

  • Research's value

    In pushing for a higher education reform bill in the late 1990s, former Gov. Paul Patton set an ambitious goal of having the University of Kentucky become a Top 20 research university by 2020. UK has yet to accomplish that goal, but UK and the University of Louisville both have made great advances in research in recent years.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deadline is near

    People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.

    July 23, 2014

  • Issue is safety

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball  “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”

    July 23, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • 0518greene.jpeg Greene-Lounsberry

    John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo