How Do Cops Know When You’re Texting and Driving?

August 6th, 2019 by

a driver texting on their cellphone as the turn the steering wheel on a road

Ways the Police Catch You Texting Behind the Wheel

Drivers know that texting in the car isn’t safe or smart. However, many have continued to do so. That is why almost every state across the nation (48 so far) have some kind of law on the books concerning texting while driving. Some are more restrictive, and more punishing, than others. The idea there clearly is that if people don’t care about risking their safety or others, they WILL care about getting a big fine or going to jail.

Is It Safe To Leave My Dog in a Hot Car?

So, that begs a certain question. How do police know when someone is texting and driving? Here are the signs cops look for and the methods they use to catch people texting when behind the wheel.


Just for clarification, let’s be very clear on the purpose of this article 

This is NOT a guide to help you text and drive better. This is simply a guide showing how easy it can be to spot someone who is texting and driving 

If it’s that easy to spot, it’s that easy to get a ticket. 


Phone on the Steering Wheel

Probably the easiest way police catch texting drivers.

Some drivers think it’s better to text with the phone on their steering wheel, that way they’re keeping their head up and face in the direction of the road.

Always Looking Down

Outside of actually seeing the phone, a clear, tell-tale sign is a driving continually looking down. Drivers do this to hide their phone (the opposite of the last example) but are then constantly distracted from the road.

The Bright Glow of a Screen

A lot of people have the brightness cranked on their screen, meaning a bright glow will light up your car when you’re on your phone while driving.

This problem is obviously worse during the night, making it easy to spot drivers who might be texting.

Police SUVs and Motorcycles

Police are more often driving big SUVs these days. There are a number of reasons for this, but one advantage is perspective. The very high ride-height of an SUV often allows its drivers and passengers to peer down and into cars in the next lane with ease.

On the other hand, you have police on motorcycles. Here, their advantage is proximity. Bikes can get very close and go between lanes, making it easy for an officer to sneak up and peer into windows to monitor your activity.

a woman in a yellow sweater texting while she drives with her car window down
a man in a blue buttonup shirt driving as he texts on his cellphone


Traffic and Highway Cameras

Cameras are at the busiest intersections these days in the city and at lanes getting off and on the highway. Most often, these are used to see if people run red lights, other traffic violations, or, in extreme cases, identifying drivers for police investigations. However, they can be and are used to catch texting drivers.

Future Methods

The following methods have not been widely implemented as of yet, at least outside of specific criteria, but that’s not to say they won’t be over the next several years.

Texting Records – In the case of an accident, police can consult cell phones records to see if texting might have led to the accident, thereby placing blame on the driver who was texting. In the future, some feel this could be implemented at everyday traffic stops instead of under extreme circumstances.

Text Analyzer – Think of it like police radar, except instead of measuring speed it analyzes frequencies from a driver’s cell phone to see if it is being used for texting.

Damages from Texting While Driving

Outside of the risk of an accident, which can lead to major auto repairs and injuries, there are major costs, both to your wallet and your reputation, to getting caught texting while driving.

A ticket for texting while driving can cost a driver over $100, points off their license, and an offense logged on their record.

Again, the severity of violations and punishments will vary by state texting driving laws.

Strange Driving Laws in Georgia

For more driving tips and tricks and other valuable information, please continue to read our blog here at the Carl Black Hiram Auto Superstore. For more information on automotive sales and service, contact us. The Carl Black Hiram staff can be reached online, by phone, or with a visit to our dealership located in Hiram, Georgia within Paulding County where we serve the surrounding cities of Marietta, Dallas, Atlanta, and more in the area!