By now almost everyone has heard about the hazards of distracted driving, and in particular texting while driving. Despite these warnings, many motorists continue to engage in these dangerous behaviors. State lawmakers are now attempting to further deter drivers by passing a complete ban on texting while driving in Alabama.
A similar bill passed the House last year, but died after it got delayed behind other pieces of legislation in the Alabama Senate. This year it appears the bill may progress through the chambers much more quickly. Earlier this week the bill passed the House Public Safety Committee. Legislators think a full floor vote may happen as early as next week.
The bill outlaws texting while driving for all Alabama drivers. Those who violate the law would receive a $25 fine along with two points on their license. Additional violations would tack on another $25 fine and two points, and could eventually add up to a loss of the repeat offender’s license.
Although several Alabama cities already have ordinances prohibiting texting and driving, many only categorize it as a secondary violation, so police can only make the charge if the driver is violating an additional law like speeding. The potential statewide ban would close this loophole, and put Alabama among the 35 other states that have already passed similar laws.
State Rep. Jim McClendon (R) who sponsored the bill stated that, “It’s time to do something about this very dangerous practice. There is essentially no difference between the crash rate of drunk-driving and texting and driving.”