Texting while driving is in an extremely dangerous activity. In 2009, 5,500 people died because of distracted driving. Nashville police argue that driving while texting is about the same as driving while drunk.
Although texting while driving has been illegal in Tennessee since 2009, The Tennessean reports there have only been 62 texting while driving citations issued. Nashville police tried to crack down on offenders, but since that campaign started in January 2011, only 18 citations were issued.
In an effort to remove texting drivers from the road, the police have searched for alternatives to strict enforcement of the law. A new project has been created to educated teens on the dangers of driving while texting. Thus far, the three classes have been at the request of parents only.
Police face an uphill battle, however. The classes are meant to change a behavior that is so ingrained to many. As a Nashville police sergeant has said, "These kids live and die by their phone." It is unclear whether or not these classes have had much effect on teenage participants.
One reason that enforcement is so difficult is that it is hard to track texting while driving until there has been a car accident. In an effort to be safe themselves, police are required to be in pairs while on patrol-one officer will drive while the other officer checks to see whether drivers are texting. Additionally, officers have to use their unmarked cars so as to avoid easy detection.
Nashville police encourage drivers to avoid texting drivers as much as possible. If it is feasible to get out of their way-do so. If a driver is at risk of injuring themselves or others, call 911. Otherwise, take down a description of the car and contact police as soon as possible.