Text messaging while driving is such a major distraction that the Alabama State Legislature passed a bill banning texting while driving in an attempt to curb its growth in our state and the potential for injury or death, says Alabama car accident attorney Keith T. Belt.
Saying he is confident it will save lives, Gov. Robert Bentley this morning signed into law legislation to make it a crime to text and drive. “It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to know that you can’t text and drive at the same time,” Bentley said at a press conference outside the Alabama Capitol before signing the bill. Bentley said he believes the measure will save lives just like the state law that requires the use of seat belts by prohibiting sending text messages, instant messages and emails while operating a motor vehicle while continue to allow dialing a cell phone.
The bill includes a fine of $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense with each offense carrying a two-point violation on a person’s driving record. “I think this will at least remind people you should not text and drive at the same time. Even though the penalties are not great, it is just reminding people not to do that,” Bentley said.
When the law goes into effect Aug., Alabama will become the 38th state to prohibit texting and driving, according to The Governors Highway Safety Association. The primary advocate for this legislation has been Republican Rep. Jim McClendon of Springville, who worked on the bill for six years before finally winning legislative approval. McCall said a major benefit of the law is that many people will abide by the law and thus it will reduce the number of people who text and drive.
Public Safety Department Director Col. Hugh McCall said sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eye off the road for 4.6 seconds on average — enough for a car going 55 mph to travel the length of a football field. When the bill has come up for floor debate over the years, some legislators have questioned how enforceable the ban would be. However, cell phone companies maintain records that will show can show whether a text was sent or received and time stamp all the activity. The Alabama law does not go as far as some states. Ten states, Washington D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving, according to The Governors Highway Safety Association.
If you or a loved one is injured in a serious car accident where the operator of the vehicle was texting, retention of competent legal counsel is essential to ensure the injured party has representation capable of securing sufficient financial compensation to cover the current medical expenses and any future losses which may be incurred. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate the details of your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages.