Pence pledges no texting and driving

INDIANAPOLIS - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute, it takes an average of four-point-six seconds to send a text message.

On an interstate traveling at 55-miles per hour, that's the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without once looking up.

On Thursday, Gov. Mike Pence joined 33 Indiana mayors in pledging to never text and drive. The event was part of a national "It Can Wait" campaign hoping to reduce distracted driving.

According to IMPD officials, police can blame 337 crashes, 76 injuries and five deaths directly to texting and driving. Those numbers may be much higher in reality, police said, because it's often not apparent that a cell phone was involved in a crash.

"Many times law enforcement officers investigating a crash don't know there was a cell phone involved," said Don Bickel, of the Marion Co. Traffic safety Partnership. "Are you going to tell the policeman, 'I was on a cell phone and I hit somebody?'"

Over the past 21 months, Indiana State Police have issued less than 800 tickets for texting and driving statewide. It's a difficult violation to detect, and even more difficult to prove.

"The easiest way to put it is: The people being cited for this are the honest people who say, 'Yes, I was texting,'" said Indiana State Police Capt. Dave Bursten. "Other people want to be dishonest about it when they're pulled over and they say, 'I was checking my calendar.'"

To find out more about the "It Can Wait" campaign, visit www.itcanwait.com.              

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