City Council tackles texting while driving

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  If you have a cell phone, you're probably guilty of texting at the wheel.

The practice is banned in 25 states.  Alabama has yet to do so.

Experts say if you use a handheld device while driving, you're four times as likely to get into crashes with injuries.

Montgomery City Councilman Tracy Larkin wants to outlaw texting and driving, proposing an ordinance to levy fines--and jail time--if you get caught.   A first offense could cost drivers $50 and up to ten days in jail.

"It's a growing problem, particularly among young people who are very adept and accustomed to this idea of texting messages," Larkin said.

Other council members acknowledge the problems, but they.. And authorities.. Are worried any charges may not stick.

"How are we going to enforce it? We can continue to put laws on the books, but how are we going to enforce it?" asked Councilman Glen Pruitt.

drivers also aren't so keen on the idea of jail time..

"[Police should] probably give a fine for a first offense.  Give [drivers] one more chance," said motorist Carol Gitel.

Still, Larkin says something needs to be done in the interest of safety.

"It's a very serious problem.  They're posing dangers not only for the people who are riding in the cars with them, but also anyone who happens to be on the same road," Larkin explained.

Over the next two weeks or so, Mayor Todd Strange and City Council members tell WSFA 12 News they'll look at the bill, see if they can offer any tweaks, and be specific on the acts that would be outlawed.

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