Police Advice on Dangerous Texting Drivers: Stay Far Away and Call 911


USA Today says law enforcers surveyed offered two primary tips to motorists who see a car being operated dangerously by a texting driver: give them wide berth, and call 911 in egregious cases. “Personally, I would steer clear of those people, especially if I was with my family, because that’s very, very dangerous,” says Sgt. Michael Baylous of the state police in West Virginia, where a texting ban took effect July 1. “I’d get away from them, either by traveling on down the road or by slowing down and letting them get ahead of you. If there’s no way to get away from them, then I would call the police.”

Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers in 39 states. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-texting drivers, according to one Department of Transportation-sponsored study. The 2009 study found that sending a text or e-mail takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds — that’s about how long it takes a vehicle going 55 mph to cover the length of a football field. Law enforcers cautioned against citizens dressing down a texting driver. “We would never instruct a person to confront an individual,” says Capt. Roger Lanier of the Lewiston, Idaho, Police Department. “There’s no respect for another motorist, in terms of authority. That’s how road rage is spawned.”

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