WIUM Local
3:24 pm
Mon January 4, 2010

Macomb Police Prepare For Texting Ban

Macomb, IL – A new law banning text messaging while driving went into effect at the start of the new year to much fanfare.

Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker says his department plans to enforce the new ban, but it'll give drivers a break for at least a little while.

Barker says officers will likely write "a lot of warnings" in the coming months as drivers get used to the new rule, and officers get used to enforcing it. He says it will be hard to enforce, much like seatbelt laws were when they were first enacted. But there will be telltale signs that someone is texting.

"[When] you see someone that's distracted, their head's bent over, they're doing the hand gestures that someone does when they're texting," says Barker. "That will give officers probable cause to pull someone over."

Barker also says drivers will likely admit to texting while driving if officers catch them.

He says when lawmakers craft laws such as this, they don't think about enforceability as much as they should. With that said, however, he applauds the measure. He says it will make people think twice before pulling out their cell phones while driving.

The new law also makes it illegal to talk on a hand held device while driving through school or construction zones. The penalties for those offenses are the same as texting while driving.