The car was swerving and slowing down. The driver was in the left passing lane and went from the posted 45 mile per hour to a dead stop.
Keefe stopped his car and turned on his flashing lights. He climbed out of his car to investigate. When he walked to the driver’s window Keefe saw a woman in an argument. Not yelling but via texting with her cell phone.
“I waited a few seconds and then tapped on the window,” Keefe said. “Here’s the crazy thing. She didn’t even know she had stopped driving.
“This woman was so entrenched in this argument through texting she hadn’t realized she had come to a complete stop. If that doesn’t tell people how dangerous texting and driving is, I don’t know what will.”
The numbers don’t lie, either.
One hundred Davis County teenagers from different high schools were asked if they ever used their cell phone to text while driving a car. Every one of those questioned said they had done so at least once in their lives. More than 75 of those admitted to driving and texting more than once a day.
“It’s just part of our generation,” one girl said.
It’s that kind of attitude that scares law enforcement officials, and parents. Most teens and adults, even with the attention to the dangers of texting, continue to do so. The stiffer laws seem to only be turning the tide of drivers who text at a snail’s pace.
“The laws about texting and driving are very clear and people need to understand that it is against the law to do that,” Keefe said. As the president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, Keefe may know the laws as well as anyone and he said, “The basic law says ‘A driver may not use a hand held device for texting while driving.’”
The law goes on to explain that a person convicted of driving and texting will pay a fine. It is considered a Class C misdemeanor. A second offense is a Class B misdemeanor and if a driver causes a crash that kills another person the person texting will be charged with automobile homicide. Such a charge is a third degree felony.
“These are serious crimes,” Keefe said. “If someone has to text, pull into a parking lot or at least off the road and do the texting then. There is nothing so important that texting while driving is OK.”