Texting while driving banned

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

During a recent trip to Atmore, Gov. Robert Bentley said he has had high hopes for the current Alabama legislative session and pointed to his recent signing of a law banning texting while driving as a huge success.

Bentley signed the legislation into law Tuesday, May 8, with an effective date of Aug. 1, 2012,– giving Alabama drivers less three months to become accustomed to resisting the temptation to text message while operating  a vehicle.

Drivers caught engaging in the dangerous practice will face a fine of $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $75 for a third infraction.

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Atmore Police Chief Jason Dean said, while enforcing the law could prove to be a tedious task, he is in strong support of the governor’s decision to ban the practice.

“I think that’s a good piece of legislation and I think that it will save lives all over the state,” Dean said. “As far as enforcement goes, I’m not really sure yet just how we’ll do it. I haven’t had a chance yet to really read the legislation, but it’s something that needed to be done. It’s obviously a big problem.”

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times higher than normal.

The statistical information shows sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road for about 4.6 seconds on average. For a driver going 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field.