Fargo Police Watching For Distracted Drivers - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Police Watching For Distracted Drivers

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If you frequently have one hand on the wheel and one on your phone, Fargo police will be watching out for you.

A grant from the North Dakota DOT is allowing the Fargo Police Department to put extra sets of eyes on the road to watch for texters.

"We plan various events pretty much every month throughout the summer where we do enforcement activity. Our first day that we did enforcement was yesterday," says Sgt. James Kringlie from the Fargo Police Department.

Starting in April, which is National Distracted Driving Month, and going through September, the Fargo Police Department will choose days they will work in uniform, under cover and in groups to crack down.

"This woman here in the white suburban is manipulating her phone. I watch her enough to see if she's doing more manipulations than what is normal to make a cell phone call," says Kringlie while watching a driver stopped at a red light.

If you get pulled over for texting, there are a few things you have to do and a few things you don't.

"The law does obligate the person who is driving, if they're lawfully stopped, to provide their name, their driver's license and their biographical data," says Vogel Law Firm Attorney Mark Friese.

But if a cop asks you to hand over your phone and prove you weren't texting...that's a different story.

"You do not have to consent to a search of the phone. The police in order to search the phone, would have to present the information to a judge and obtain a warrant," he says.

Officers need probable cause to issue you a citation. If you honestly weren't texting and still find yourself with a $100 fine, you can fight it in court.

"I don't think there's any text that is worth endangering yourself or others that can't wait," says Kringlie.

He says the best option...just put the phone away.

Fargo police want to be clear that even if you're stopped at a red light or a stop sign, texting is still illegal.

They say texting in any form - whether that's reading, typing, or using voice commands - are all against the ordinance.

Dialing a phone number or having a conversation is allowed and so is GPS, but you can only text if your car is legally parked.

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