Cracking down on driving while texting
Last week state Rep. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) introduced legislation that would penalize Alabama drivers if convicted of text messaging four times in a two-year period.
The four-strike proposal includes a first-time fine of $25 and a 60-day license suspension if convicted a fourth time.
It would apply to all ages and restrict texting or talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.
"The issue here is distraction," said McLendon in an interview with The Birmingham News.
"A person texting is using one or both hands, and (the driver) has got to look at what (he or she) is doing. So a person is losing both hands and eyes while operating a motor vehicle. It doesn't get much worse than that."
McClendon, who belongs to the state Legislature's State Safety Coordinating Committee, also said he would be in support of a future measure that would allow drivers to only talk on a cell phone if they were using a hands-free device.
According to the Governors Highway Association, seven states – Alaska, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington – and the District of Columbia currently have a text messaging ban for all drivers.
Banning text messaging while driving would eliminate one of the many ways drivers can be distracted. This measure seems fair and would help make our roads safer for everyone.