As of Aug. 1, drivers throughout the state can be pulled over and receive a traffic citation for texting or emailing while driving. It is a primary offense, which means that authorities need no other reason to pull a suspect over besides the belief that he is illegally using his cell phone behind the wheel. The goal of the law is to prevent distracted driving accidents in Alabama by directing more drivers' attention to the road and off of their phones.
What are the details of the new law?
Punishments for distracted driving get stiffer the more times a driver is cited for the offense:
First offense: $25
Third or more: $75
There are certain circumstances when texting and emailing while driving is considered okay:
When the car is stopped
When the car is parked
When contacting emergency services
Drivers are also allowed to use GPS devices while driving. Some might think that the distracted driving law doesn't go far enough. Can't people just turn off their phones while behind the wheel? Is a message or email really so important that it is worth putting oneself and those around them at risk of a car accident?
What do you think of the new law? Does it make you feel safer? Do you think it should go further? Do you believe that the law will change drivers' behaviors?
Source: WSFA, "Alabama's texting while driving law now in effect," Melissa Johnson and Donna Wallace-King, Aug. 1, 2012