Dec 052009
 
Authors: Katelyn McNamara

Colorado’s ban on texting while driving, which goes into effect today, will be difficult to enforce, CSU Police Corporal Scott Anthony said.

The ban, which makes Colorado the 20th state in the nation to implement such a law, carries two components — the first of which bans any cell phone use for drivers under 18, while the second makes texting while driving illegal for anyone else.

Cpl. Anthony said the law is designed to allow drivers over 18 to dial numbers to talk on the phone but will make enforcement hard because officers won’t be able to tell if older drivers were dialing or texting.

“It’s going to be a tough law to enforce,” Cpl. Anthony said. “It will be hard for officers to differentiate between texting and dialing.”

Both offenses are primary offenses, he said, meaning that officers can pull over a driver solely for disregarding the ban. A first offense carries a $50 fine and a second carries a $100 one.

“We’re looking for erratic driving,” Cpl. Anthony said. Driving behavior will be primarily what officers look at when watching for illegal texters, he said.

According to the AAA Web site, more than half of all Colorado teenagers admitted to texting while driving in 2007. Since then, numbers have been on the rise.

The site also reported that almost 40 percent of all Colorado teens admit to taking their eyes off of the road to text on their cell phones while driving.

Junior interior design major Jessica Shaffer said she texts now and then while driving,but said she usually just makes a call if she needs something.

“I think it’s an issue that is valid, and it’s good that the government is trying to address it,” Shaffer said.

But Shaffer said the law will probably be difficult to enforce and said it won’t stop her from continuing bad habits.

“If people get pulled over for texting, they can just blame it on something else,” she said.

Senior apparel and merchandising major Taylor Grams said she only texts when braked at a stoplight.

“I do strongly agree with the ban against texting,” she said.

Not having the money to spare for a fine, Grams said, in addition to facing harsh criticism from her parents, are reasons enough to make her stop texting while driving.

“I think it will make the roads safer, and I think that texting is a luxury, not a necessity,” she said. “I think it has become abused.”

AAA driver’s association is currently working on a campaign to ban texting while driving in all 50 states, its Web site says, and it hopes to have 100 percent participation by the year 2013.

Staff writer Katelyn McNamara can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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