DWI: Driving While Interactive
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 16:25:15 GMT —
It's illegal to text and drive but many people still do it.
"There are plenty of people who don't even try to reply to the text, that are just reading their phone or even talking on the phone that don't get to walk away," said Brandi Heldenberg about her 2005 texting and driving car crash.
Heldenberg walked away from her crash, Caleb Sorahan did not.
"He was reading a text when he veered across the center lane and hit a lady and her passenger who were pulling six horses," said Angie Redder, Caleb's aunt. "He hit them head on and he never had a chance. They found the phone in his lap."
Texting takes driver's eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds. Going 55 miles an hour, that's like driving an entire football field blindfolded.
"I do do it, and I know it's wrong, and a lot of people have lost their lives texting and driving. It's not right," admitted Uamiko Jones, a local driver.
Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they text and drive.
"By texting I can talk to people I need to talk to while driving but I know it's not safe," admitted Adrian Wade, another local driver.
It is illegal to text and drive in Georgia. As a primary offense, an officer only needs to see the driver texting to pull them over. However, it is very hard for officers to prove the violation.
"You just about have to be right beside them watching them text to do that. A lot of times you may see them making movements but it's hard to see whether they're texting or dialing or what they're doing. So it's not an easy law to enforce," said Cpl. Jon Segroves of the Albany Police Department.
The texting law bans drivers from talking, writing, sending or reading "text based communication" but what about social media smart phone applications like Facebook and Twitter or other apps which don't always include words.
"If you're dialing a phone number, that's not part of the texting. The texting law is strictly to stop texting while driving," said Segroves.
If a driver is not pulled over for texting and driving, it is likely they can get ticketed for being a distracted driver.
"You can wander into oncoming traffic, you can wander off the road, you could sideswipe somebody," said Segroves.
"If you're concentrating on the telephone, you can't really see what's going on in front of you," said Jason Belk, a local driver who does not text and drive.
"Nothing's worth your life or the lives of people you love or people around you," said Misty Evans, another local driver who does not text and drive.
"Those two ladies, one has been affected for life, she's had so many surgeries they can't do anymore and she can't do her job anymore," said Redder, Caleb's aunt.
Whether it is texting and driving, Facebook and Twitter or even just talking to a passanger, stay safe on the roads. Texting and driving wasn't illegal when Caleb was killed.
"When the call came from the state patrol officer that worked Caleb's wreck, he said that this is becoming an epidemic and this was in 2009. We're now in 20I3, the law has been in place for almost three years and there's not that many tickets out there being given however the wrecks are still happening," said Redder.