The state’s beefed up new cell phone law kicked in Thursday. Lawmakers this past session made talking on the cell phone without a remote device and texting a primary offense.
A WSP spokesman says troopers are seeing fewer violators than they would have under the old law.
The patrol had said there would be no warning period for the new law because motorists should have been getting used to the violation as a secondary offense for two years – when drivers were stopped for something else. Lawmakers hope the stronger enforcement reduces driver distractions and accidents.
There are exceptions for people with hearing aids, making a 911 call or setting a cell phone to speaker and holding it in front of the mouth. It’s also OK for truckers, bus and taxi drivers and emergency responders to use their radios to talk.
In 2009, the State Patrol issued 1,607 tickets to drivers talking on their cell phone and another 236 for texting.
Statewide figures for citations under the new law will be available at the end of the month. (AP)