Alabama Bill Would Ban Tampering with Cell Phones in Cars | Mobile County Alabama News
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A proposal to ban tampering with cell phones in cars failed by a single vote last year in the Alabama House of Representatives.
West Mobile resident Freddy Wheeler said he hopes to get him across the finish line in the current legislative session.
“When it’s ready to go to the House floor, we’ll be out in force in Montgomery to make sure they understand that this is important to everyone,” said Wheeler, legislative liaison for Dixie Abate of Alabama, a Birmingham-based company. organization.
Wheeler counted the slowdown to try to illustrate how far a car can travel even at moderate speeds
“One, two, three, four, five,” he said. “In those 5 seconds, I’ve traveled 220 feet, at 30 mph. That’s the equivalent of starting at the light in Claiborne (Street), going down Dauphin (Street). You’ll reach North Jackson (Street) in that amount of time.
Rep. KL Brown, a Republican from Calhoun County, has sponsored hands-free cellphone legislation for the past few years and is trying again this year. Most of the Mobile County House delegation voted against it last year.
The latest version of the bill got a second reading Wednesday at the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
It’s already illegal in Alabama to text and drive. But the bill would go further. Police would be able to arrest drivers if they saw them even handling a mobile phone – or any other electronic device.
It would also toughen the penalties. Currently, getting caught texting and driving adds 2 points to your driver’s license. This bill would add 3 points after a third conviction.
“It makes it easier to apply, because the officer, all he has to do is spot you holding the device, instead of seeing you texting someone,” he said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers caused 3,142 fatal crashes in 2019. This represents nearly 9% of all fatal crashes and an increase of nearly 10% from 2018.
Wheeler argued that a hands-free cellphone law would make all drivers safer. But he said motorcyclists would particularly benefit.
“Motorcyclists are most often hit by drivers who are distracted because they are not paying attention. … People don’t perceive motorcycles as easily as they would a car, a truck or a building,” he said. “So a cellphone or any type of device they hold has an even bigger impact.”
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