Focus on the road: An update to the texting and driving law

A graphic and disturbing simulation on what can happen to a distracted driver has been seen by millions of people.Yes, it is violent, PSA Writer and Director Peter Watkins-Hughes said. But the reality of a fatal road accident is much more gruesome " much more violent.The target audience is teenagers, many of whom don't give texting while driving a second thought, at least not until their reflexes are tested.It was definitely a lot harder because we had to pick up the pace, 16-year-old Andrew Adcock said. And then you also have to read and look ahead at the same time. And it's definitely not something you can do.While many lawmakers wanted to outlaw texting while driving for everyone, they compromised on a law banning the practice for young drivers.We have written 125 tickets since that law went into effect, said Lt. John Hotz, of the Missouri Highway Patrol.The Highway Patrol says the violation is difficult to cite because of the probable cause needed to make the stop. Age profiling is unacceptable and motorists with cell phone in hand might be dialing a phone number, which is not illegal. Erratic driving is the only trigger.The Jefferson City Police Department has yet to write a single ticket for texting while driving."You almost have to have somebody that brings it to your attention. Now, in a serious accident, serious injury accident or a fatality accident, we do take the cell phones of the drivers and we do check them, JCPD Capt. Robert Cynova said.When Gov. Nixon signed the texting bill, he said he hoped it would provide the data needed to show a correlation between texting and serious accidents. Most authorities simply hope there will now be more attention on motorists who eat, visit, read, apply makeup or do anything else that takes their focus off the road.I think the issue of distracted driving is the key to it, Cole County Sheriff Greg White said. It's not so much the tool as an individual mechanism as it is the action you're engaging in.