Alabama Senator to Introduce Hands-Free Law
ALABAMA – According to an online news report from rocketcitynow.com, an Alabama senator is planning to introduce a Hands-Free law for the state that would ban all handheld use of cell phones while driving.*
Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springfield) will introduce a bill similar to the law that went into effect in Georgia this summer. The Hands-Free Georgia Act, which went into effect in July, prohibits all handheld use of electronic devices while driving in the state. If drivers want to use their cell phones or electronic devices, they must use hands-free technology, like Bluetooth.
The National Safety Council says cell phone use leads to 1.6 million vehicle crashes every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2016. Texting while driving, which accounts for a significant percentage of distracted driving accidents, is more dangerous than drunk driving.
“Because if a person is under the influence, even though you may be driving erratic, your eyes are still focused on the roadway,” said Alabama State Trooper Curtis Summerville. “But if you’re texting or looking down to dial that phone, that means you’re doing just that – looking down.”
Current law in Alabama prohibits texting while driving, but lawmakers want to take that further. Law enforcement officers say it is difficult to enforce the texting ban because it can be hard to tell whether a driver is looking down at a phone to text or to make a call. Whether a law ends up passing or not, Alabama officers are urging drivers to stay off their phones.
“Especially this time of year, because there are so many people out shopping, we encourage you to put the phone away, unless you have a hands-free unit, and even hands-free is still dangerous,” Summerville said.
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