APD cracking down on texting and driving

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Cell phones have become a huge convenience in today's society. But it all depends on where you use it. At home is fine, but behind the wheel it's the most dangerous thing you can do. And in many cases, it's illegal.

Source: KALB

Alexandria Police are cracking down on this law more than ever. It all started with a tweet by APD. In it was a picture of several drivers using their phones behind the wheel and a message reading "text equals ticket."

“Obviously it's a distraction,” said Det. Wade Bourgeois. “And I compare it to somebody who is drunk. It's the same level of bad driving."

Detective Bourgeois said he sees it very often when driving in an unmarked police car.

"You see them veering back and forth going across the line,” explained Det. Bourgeois. “They almost jump the curb but jerk the car back because they're not paying attention."

We went along to see for ourselves. It actually took some time, but we eventually spotted a person on their phone, not texting but Face-timing while driving. That's illegal too.

"It's usually pretty common," said Officer Blake Butler.

Officer Butler works in the traffic division. He said he's seen the dangers of using a phone behind the wheel.

"Bodily harm, property damage,” said Officer Butler. “We have a lot of wrecks that are caused by texting and driving violations."

In fact, according to a national study by AAA, 11 people die every day as a result of texting and driving. Also their poll shows that 94 percent of people acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35 percent admit to doing it anyway.

That is far too many for these officers.

"Driving is hard enough,” said Officer Butler. “Especially in Alexandria. And it just increases the danger when you text and drive."

It can lead to a ticket with a heavy fine.

"First offense could be a fine of up to 500 dollars,” said Det. Bourgeois. “Second or subsequent offenses can be a fine of up to 1000 dollars. If the texting causes an accident the fine could be doubled, meaning a first offense could be up to 1000 dollars.

So no matter if it's a text or the latest APD tweet, officers urge you resist the temptation to check it until you're no longer driving.

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