Texting and Driving Fine Increases

While some new laws are taking effect tomorrow, the penalties for others are going up. It’s been a year since texting and driving has been illegal in Mississippi. Tomorrow, the fine for texting and driving is switching gears from $25 to $100. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson has the details.
Working accident scenes is part of the job for police officers, but some wrecks and deaths are preventable, namely those that happen while texting and driving.
The National Safety Council reports that 1.6 million crashes per year involve the use of cell phones while driving. Texting while driving accounts for one out of every four accidents in the United States.
A new state law is going into effect, raising the fine for texting and driving from $25 to $100, upping the penalty for the existing law that’s been on the books for about a year. Enforcing this law has been another matter. Attorney Robert Harenski said, “There has not been any texting and driving cases dealt with here on the Coast.”
The texting and driving statute is a civil penalty. A Biloxi prosecutor says if police see somebody texting and driving they can’t use that as a sole reason to pull them over. “It’s impossible for us to determine who is texting and driving just by driving by them on the road,” said Sergeant Brian Dykes with the Biloxi Police Department.
Police tell News 25 the many times they hand out tickets for careless and reckless driving, it’s easy to tell that the driver was swerving because of a cellphone.
Violators face the increased fine in justice court or worse yet, the possibility of living with guilt over something you can never take or pay back. “Two seconds you’re faced off the traffic and you’ve hit somebody, you’ve killed somebody. You’ve ruined somebody’s life,” said Harenski.

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