Governor Robert Bentley officially made Alabama the thirty-eighth state to enact a texting while driving law when he signed the "Talk to You Later Act" into law yesterday. The law is set to go into effect on August 1, 2012.
On its face, the law seems to only punish drivers caught sending text-messages behind the wheel. The new law fines a driver $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $75 for each offense thereafter; each offense also results in a two-point deduction to a violator's driving record. However, the true intention of the law is to emphasize the increased chance of serious auto accidents resulting from distracted driving caused by cell phones.
While the law may seem like the first step to reducing smart-phone related car crashes, some studies suggest that texting while driving laws have little to no affect on roadway safety. For instance, a study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) concluded that states that passed cell phone use restrictions actually experienced no decrease in automobile accidents related to cell-phone use. Instead, motor vehicle crashes actually increased in the nine-month period following the enactment of anti-texting laws in three of the four states which HLDI studied.
Despite skeptic statistics such as the HLDI study, Alabama lawmakers are optimistic that the new law will make roadways safer and reduce distracted driver accidents. The leader of such optimism is House Representative Jim McClendon, the bill's sponsor who has introduced the bill for the last six years. After seeing the bill signed into law, McClendon stated that, "[t]here's no question we are going to save lives."
About Drake Law Firm - We are a personal injury and wrongful death firm headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama but handling cases in every major city and county in the state. If you have been in a car accident caused by a distracted or drunk driver, call us toll free at 1-877-324-5300 for a free consultation.
Source: Kim Chandler, "Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs law banning texting and driving." Montgomery Bureau, May 8, 2012, available at: http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/05/bentley_signs_texting_and_driv.html.