Police writing more tickets for distracted driving

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Police are writing more tickets for distracted driving, trying to send a stronger message to drivers to pay attention behind the wheel.

Tickets for distracted driving are up from the first year of the law and about on par with last year. But an Eyewitness News experiment showed it's hard to prove texting behind the wheel.

You see it everywhere - drivers texting while driving.

Police are seeing it, too, and they are taking action. Of 134 tickets written, 79 of those were warnings to the driver. Two were the result of traffic accidents.

In 2012, state police wrote 409 tickets, almost half of those were warnings. Five of those tickets stemmed from crashes.

Now compare those 409 texting tickets to almost a half-million warning tickets written in 2012 for other traffic violations.

Texting while driving is just difficult to prove.

I was stumped. We had our news intern, Mary Beth Dunnichay, mess with her iPhone in a parked news car.

I tried to guess what she was actually doing, as though I were a passing police officer. The first guess was right on. All that thumb action on the touch screen was texting.

But my next two guesses - totally wrong. She was actually updating Facebook and Twitter.

We asked a motorist on the IUPUI campus tonight if she thinks the law is stopping people from texting while driving.

"Probably not," she said.

She did say some of her friends had stopped, but she still sees a lot of it.

"So I think it's working a little bit," she said.

Sean Kerr, a fourth-year medical student crossing campus Wednesday evening said, "You're changing an older demographic's behavior. The older drivers are starting to put their cell phones down. The younger ones, 16 years and just coming in, I don't think they've broken that behavior."

"It doesn't really stop me," admitted student Jonathan. "Just not in bad traffic."