Warnings outnumber tickets issued for distracted driving

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 26, 2011

 Troy police Lt. Rob Redmond notes the number of drivers along Big Beaver using hand-held cell phones in violation of the city ordinance on distracted driving.

Troy police Lt. Rob Redmond notes the number of drivers along Big Beaver using hand-held cell phones in violation of the city ordinance on distracted driving.

Photo by Edward Osinski

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TROY — Troy’s distracted driving ordinance has not produced the flurry of tickets and fines that some thought would result when police officially began handing out citations on Jan. 1.

From Jan. 1-18, police issued 11 citations and 57 warnings for distracted driving.

“It is evident that the officers continue to give many more warnings than citations,” Troy police Lt. Bob Redmond said. “That is within their discretion.”

The Troy City Council approved the ordinance this past July. Between then and the first of the year, police concentrated their efforts on educating the public about the ordinance, and they didn’t issue any tickets, said Lt. David Livingston of special operations.

The fines for texting while driving and distracted driving are $200, and the fine for driving while talking on a cell phone is $75. The violations carry no points.

Under the new ordinance, drivers may talk on wireless phones with hands-free devices and can dial a cell phone if stopped at a traffic signal.

The ordinance also identifies cell phone dialing and scrolling as distractive behavior that is prohibited; any action that diverts the driver’s attention, such as eating, reading and writing, performing personal hygiene/grooming, or physically interacting with pets, passengers and unsecured cargo; and anything that prohibits the driver from keeping one hand free of all other objects and on the steering wheel.

For the texting while driving and distracted driving fine of $200:

• $40 goes to the state.
• $112 goes to the court.
• $48 comes back to the city.

For the driving while talking on a cell phone fine of $75:
• $40 goes to the state.
• $24.50 goes to the court.
• $10.50 comes back to the city.

Livingston said there has been a noticeable drop in the number of drivers engaged in distracted driving behaviors since the enforcement date took effect.

“The new distracted driving law is not the only law we are enforcing,” he said. “We are not devoting 100 percent of our time to enforcing distracted driving violations. However, when an officer sees a distracted driving violation, or any violation for that matter, he/she is expected to take whatever action they deem appropriate.”

He added that officers will continue educational efforts regarding distracted driving and aggressively enforce the ordinance in efforts to reduce crashes due to distracted driving behaviors.


 

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