State lawmakers pass ban on texting while driving - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

State lawmakers pass ban on texting while driving


A bill to ban texting while driving is close to becoming law.  Alabama lawmakers approved the bill last week. But is it enough to keep people safe on the roads?   

"Texting and driving is taking our mind off of the divided attention task of driving that we are already doing," said Lt. John Stringer.  "We have to operate the vehicle, control the speed, check our breaking and also be aware of all the other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists out there on the road. I think it will certainly help us to make the road ways safer."

The city of Madison already has a no texting while driving law in place. Lt. Stringer said the bill will help them nab careless commuters.  

"One of the primary differences between the ordinance for the city of Madison and the proposed state law is that it would be a primary offense." Stringer said. "In other words an officer who observes someone who appears to be texting and driving would be able to stop them solely on that probable cause alone."

That's good news to drivers like Jennifer Newman. She said she has to be a defense driver at all times, especially when she's in the car with her daughter.   

"It makes it more difficult because I am trying to be aware of my surroundings and try to be safe for her but there are other people swerving and things like that so it's kind of nerve wracking driving back and forth," Newman said. 

Newman says if the driver receives a text message to pull over on the side of the road or wait until you get to where you are going to actually text somebody.

The bill needs the governor's signature before it can become law. The bill prohibits sending text messages, instant messages and emails while behind the wheel. It provides exceptions for contacting emergency services and for using global position services.

The bill includes a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.

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