A look at Prattville's ban on texting and driving one month later

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Carllene Johns freely admits she used to text and drive but not anymore.

"I do my best not to text and it's been a long time," said Johns.

Prattville police will tell you Johns made the right decision, if only so many others would do the same. The city is almost a month into the new ordinance and so far no tickets have been given.

There is a general consensus that enforcing the ban will be challenging simply because police would have to witness the texting and driving.

First offense calls for a $50 fine but no jail time.

"The fact the police haven't written any tickets doesn't worry me," said Prattville City Council President Dean Argo.

The author of the ban believes the mere fact the word is out could end up doing far more good than any ticket.

Carllene Johns may be an example of that.

"We've done a great service to Prattville. It's enforceable as running a red light or speeding. An officer has to witness it," said Argo.

Much like Johns, Dean Argo will tell you he was guilty of it.

"I even crossed the yellow line and nearly ran off the interstate," he said.

After 14 years of being in office on the city council, Argo says it took him a little more than 3 months to do the research on the ordinance, by far not the most burdensome proposal he's ever handled but it does rank near the top in terms of public safety.

And Prattville may not be alone.

In Montgomery city leaders could ban both talking on the phone and texting while driving.

"The reason we didn't go all the way is we wanted to do away with distracted driving," said Argo.

Nearly one month and counting, the new ordinance is in full force and people like Carllene Johns are doing their part to keep their eyes on the road.

Dean Argo says there is a chance a total ban could come before the Prattville City Council but he isn't sure how he feels about it at the moment.

Montgomery, meantime,  could vote on its proposed hand held phone ban during its next council next week.

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