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Published October 05, 2010, 05:52 PM

Enforcing the New Texting While Driving Ban

In a week and a half, it will be illegal to text while driving in Grand Forks, but how will police officers enforce the law?

Officer Brandon Eberhardt has been patrolling the streets of Grand Forks for almost three years.

"You can tell if someone is distracted."

Soon he'll have another distraction to look for. The new texting while driving ban will take effect in less than two weeks in Grand Forks.

"The big one is when they're at a red light, and the light changes to green. They wait too long. You look over there, and you see they’re texting," said Eberhardt.

Eberhardt says the new law might be kind of hard to enforce, but officers will try their best.

"It will be one of those things where if you see it, we'll take enforcement action. It will be up to officer discretion," Eberhardt said.

Eberhardt says the most difficult thing might be trying to figure out whether someone is texting or calling someone, which won't be illegal under the new ban.

"If someone is making a phone call, it's seven numbers they're going to dial, but if they have their head down in their phone and are typing away, chances are they're probably not making a phone call," said Eberhardt.

Even if not every texter is caught, Eberhardt says he hopes the ban will lead to a safer Grand Forks, which is police officers' ultimate goal.

"Driving while texting is dangerous, and doing anything while you're driving a vehicle and being distracted is dangerous. I guess if having this ban in place helps out, I'm all for it," Eberhardt said.

The texting ban will go into effect on Friday, October 15th. Those who are caught face a fine of $15.

Eberhardt says he thinks officers will get together before the law starts to further talk about enforcing it.

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