LPD Officer: Texting Law Has Too Many Loopholes - abc27 WHTM

LPD Officer: Texting Law Has Too Many Loopholes


Lynchburg, VA - A lot of focus was put on Virginia's Texting and Driving Law when it went into effect this summer.

Legislators were hoping to crack down on distracted driving, but nearly four months into enforcement, officers are finding out the law has many loopholes.

"It's not the easiest law to enforce, but by all means we're obviously out there looking for it because of the distraction," said Ronnie Sitler with the LPD Traffic Safety Unit.

Law enforcement is on the lookout for drivers looking down.

State Police are catching drivers in the texting act. They've given out 328 citations since July.

But in Lynchburg, Sitler says they've only given out seven.

"There are so many loopholes in the law right now the way that it's written. While it is a primary offense, it's hard for an officer to distinguish whether you are texting, or updating a Facebook status, or emailing, or twittering," he said.

And the law covers only texting, not those other things. Plus, it's kind of hard to catch in the first place.Officers are basically left playing a game of 'I Spy." So a lot of this just goes on their judgment and observations.

Even if you do get pulled because an officer believes you're texting, you can just say, 'Oh no officer, I wasn't texting, I was tweeting.'

"It's not like we have the ability to steal your phone and see whether or not you're texting," said Officer Sitler.

Officers are stuck with this Swiss Cheese legislation for now. But they're hoping to be served a more expansive law in the future.

"The biggest thing we can shoot for and hope for in the next few years is just the handheld device itself be eliminated while you're driving, as a distraction," he said.

If an officer truly believes you were texting and driving, it doesn't matter what you say, they'll still give you the citation. There is no word yet on how those charges are holding up in court, though.

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