Society
3:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Don't Be #Intexticated: The Dangers of Texting and Driving

Warning an image in the above slideshow may be graphic for certain viewers.

The Paducah Business and Professional Organization recently sponsored an event to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. Captain Donald Hodgson of the Paducah Police Department made a presentation along with Hillary Coltharp, a young Paducah woman who was severely injured in an automobile accident while she was texting and driving. Kate is joined by Captain Hodgson to learn more about the campaign.

Texting and driving law in Kentucky: It is against the law to send or receive a text or use an electronic communication device while a vehicle is in motion, with the exception of making a phone call or using a GPS device. Captain Hodgson says that the exception makes this a difficult law to enforce. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using the device at all. 

Captain Hodgson says since beginning the campaign, he's found that the texting while driving issue crosses all age, gender and socioeconomic groups. He say this presents the social challenge to learn to evolve with technology to learn to prioritize when to send or receive information. If the message can wait until you get to your destination, let it wait. Or, for longer trips, much like a designated driver for drinking, have a designated texter.

Three ways to reduce texting tragedies:

  • Law Enforcement - training officers to identify and enforce the law
  • Education - awareness campaigns
  • Consumer Demand - working with the technology, app that temporary blocks incoming calls/texts

Hillary Coltharp and "Don't Be In-Text-icated"

The Paducah Police department has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Transportation and Kentucky Office of Highway Safety to do texting enforcement campaign, "Heads Up Don't Be In-TEXT-icated." This program has been presented to more than 900 young people, recently at Paducah Tilghman High School. They have taken this campaign to the community, speaking with other high school and civic groups. A leader in this campaign has been Hillary Coltharp, who survived a collision while texting and driving in 2007. She suffered severe injuries, underwent several surgeries, and is continuing to recover today.

Read Hillary Coltharp's story.

Texting & Driving: The Hillary Coltharp Story (by Socially Present):

To hook up with a presentation about the dangers of distracted driving, contact Paducah Police Officer Gretchen Morgan: gmorgan@paducahky.gov.

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