As many commentators predicated, the Alabama Legislature finally passed the Talk to You Later (TTYL) Act on Thursday. The texting while driving ban, designed to reduce car accidents caused by drivers distracted by text-messaging, passed the House of Representatives by a 95-0 vote; the Senate approved the bill 28-0.
Despite unanimous approval in the House last month, TTYL faced criticism regarding the absolute nature of the ban. The initial House version provided no exceptions or exemptions. The Senate added minor changes in their proposed version and sent the bill back to the House. Members of both the House and Senate met on Thursday and agreed to the finalized version.
The latest version of TTYL includes three major exceptions. First, drivers texting to obtain emergency services are excused from the prohibition. Second, the bill excludes drivers who text while parked on the shoulder of the highway. Finally, TTYL does not apply to drivers getting directions from a GPS or navigation system.
The bill now goes to Governor Bentley for approval. If signed into law, the texting ban will make Alabama the thirty-eighth state to pass an anti-texting law. If enacted, the law would likely make it easier for individuals injured by distracted drivers to establish liability and recover various car accident damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damages. Most commentators believe that Governor Bentley will approve the law within the next two weeks.