Have you ever driven around the Atlanta, GA. area? I have. Next to the D.C. Beltway, driving in and around the Atlanta area is just plain suicidal! Hwy 75 and the 285 Loop at nearly all interchanges becomes a crap shoot! Like a NASCAR crash with the track obscured by smoke, closing your eyes and standing on the gas pedal might be the best one can hope for to get through! If you’ve ever had the dubious honor of driving the local roadways you'll no doubt agree.
In a 10/30/12 article, the Associated Press stated that since July 1, 2010 when the GA Anti-texting law took effect, 1,281 motorists have been 'convicted' of texting while driving. Yes, you read it right, 1,281 in two years! The state only counts convictions so it doesn't offer a clue as to how many walk away. I suspect the number equals convictions. Law enforcement is no doubt doing the best it can, but it's obvious to me the vast majority of offenders are "scoffing" at the law.
"State troopers have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone was texting at the wheel, and not merely dialing a number or talking, "said Lt. Les Wilburn, assistant troop commander for the Georgia State Patrol. "Most drivers simply stash their phone when an officer is in sight," he added.
SB 360 – section 4 40-6-241.1 paragraph (b): b) No person who is 18 years of age or older or who has a Class C license shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road or highway of this state while using a wireless telecommunications device to write, send, or read any text based communication, including but not limited to a text message, instant message, e-mail, or Internet data.
This is crazy!
How is law enforcement supposed to separate texting from someone making a call in a split second even if the driver doesn't see them? It’s no wonder the conviction numbers are so low. I was also surprised by the point(s) assessed against a GA license for texting being at one (1) point. Hardly seems enough given the extreme danger texting while driving represents!
To put this in perspective I don't believe the small number of convictions is due to lack of targets. For example, the interchange of I-20 & Capitol has an ADT (Average Daily Traffic) count of 86,571 eastbound and 83,125 for westbound traffic. While the I-75; Forest Pkwy & I-285 exchange has 103,690 northbound & 90,296 southbound vehicles every day!
What makes a conviction so difficult?
Without interviewing the State Police on this, I suspect it's because the law doesn't go far enough and ban cell phone use for conversations in addition to texting. That said, there is a tool that would go a long way in upping the number of convictions for this outrageous behavior.
Take a good look at TruCam. Not only does it utilize state-of-the-art pulse laser technology to record speed, it can quantify tailgating (another judgment call) with DBC (Distance Between Cars), and a high resolution video camera to record the event. Further, the point of capture TruCam will also provide still close up images of the driver compartment all stored on an SD card.
By using TruCam the courts will be offered a far stronger case in regard to texting as the entire event is put in proper context with visual evidence of the violation.
This is how you overcome scoff laws, judgment calls, and sparse violator conviction rates!
Contact us at 1-800-OWN-A-LTI for a practical demonstration.