- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Law enforcement agencies in Kentucky are cracking down on drivers who text while they’re behind the wheel.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says officials are serious about stopping people from driving while texting and will stop those who are doing so and issue fines.

Police are participating in the second annual national texting enforcement crackdown - U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Kentucky’s texting law took effect five years ago. Violators can be fined $25 on a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses, plus court costs.

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving,” Bill Bell, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, said in a news release. “It creates the proverbial ‘perfect storm’ for a crash, and no one has the right to do that on our roadway.”

The Transportation Cabinet says more than 53,500 crashes occurred in Kentucky last year resulting in more than 14,000 injuries and 169 deaths due to distracted driving.

The law bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is moving. Drivers over the age of 18 may use global positioning devices and read, select or enter a phone number or name to make a call. Texting is allowed only to report illegal activity or request medical or emergency aid.

Drivers younger than 18 are banned from using all personal communication devices such as phones and pagers while the vehicle is moving. Those drivers also must enter information into a GPS system while the vehicle is stopped.

For more information, visit https://www.distraction.gov .

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