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
  • PAUL CHITWOOD: Ruling on same-sex marriage defies state constitution

    News that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn once again usurped the will of Kentucky voters is tragic and disappointing. By declaring gay marriage legal in the commonwealth, Heyburn defied the essential, foundational governing document that ensures order and justice, the Constitution of Kentucky.

    July 8, 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

  • Magolene S. Fraley 1929-2014

    Magolene Spears Fraley, 84, of Wurtland, died Saturday in Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland.

    May 17, 2014

  • Business grant

    Morehead State graduate student Kayla Keeton, who received her undergraduate degree from MSU last spring and is now studying for her MBA at the school, has received a $5,111 grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help her start Belles of the Bluegrass, a high-tech wedding planning business.

    May 16, 2014

  • Recovery Fest celebrates kicking addiction

    The wet weather no doubt impacted the size of the crowd at Saturday’s Recovery Fest 2014 at Veterans Riverfront Park in Ashland, but there were plenty of reasons for addicts who are now drug free to celebrate and for speakers like State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and others to talk about the impact the prescription drug epidemic has had on this region and for others to distribute literature and offer words of encouragement that could convince some to seek help in their battle with their drug addictions.

    May 13, 2014

  • In Your View 5/13/14

    Letters to the editor:

    May 13, 2014