Police in Kentucky have been struggling with the law regarding texting while driving, which they claim to be well intended but highly challenging to try to enforce.
Though the statute has been in effect for a year, the first half of that time involved only verbal warnings from police officers. Since January 1, 2011, they have been handing out fines and citations. According to the Kentucky Enquirer, though, since that time only 144 fines and citations have been issued.
Lieutenant Kevin Gilpin, of the Erlanger Police explained that the officers in his agencies do attempt to enforce the law when they spot a driver who is texting, but it is very challenging to try to catch someone in the act.
The two regions that have had the largest numbers of citations and fines are the counties that contain the largest cities: Jefferson county (which has had 23) and Fayette (which has had 12).
According to Tom Scheben, the spokesperson for the Boone County Sheriff, it’s not difficult to find the drivers who are texting, because following them has the feeling of following someone who isn’t paying any attention. However, in order to actually be able to issue the citation or the fine, the officer must actually have seen the individual performing the action of texting, not just using the mobile phone.
Gilpin explained that they may know that it’s happening at the time, but “it’s one of those things that it is hard to prove.” He explained that proof that texting is what was happening is required; the officer can’t simply operate on a hunch.