Debate Over Distracted Driving Comes To Alabama Legislature
December 20th, 2011|
December 20, 2011
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended to the federal government last week that states should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies.
Text messaging on cell phones is banned for all drivers in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Seven states, including Alabama, ban only 16 and 17-year-old drivers who have held an intermediate license for fewer than six months from texting.
The City of Montgomery, Alabama, has ordinances against text messaging and the use of hand-held devices while driving but it’s only a secondary offense. Being a secondary offense means police cannot pull over violators for that reason alone.
Alabama Representative Jim McClendon, who is in favor of the ban, stated, “If you don’t use seat belts, you put yourself at risk. When you text message, you put everybody at risk.”
The Alabama legislature will reconvene in February 2012 to determine if the ban should be put into effect or not.
Last year in Alabama alone, an estimated 14,000 car crashes—about one in nine of all roadway accidents–involved distracted driving, such as talking on a cell phone, eating, texting, or toying with the navigation system. In those crashes, 132 people died and 4,380 others were injured, according to estimates by the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety.