Texting While Driving Ban soon to be in effect

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The University of Alabama Center for Public Safety says distracted driving has claimed more than a hundred lives in Alabama alone.

Legislators hope the new law will make a difference. But will it be enough?

It's something we all probably do: texting or checking our e-mail on our smart phone while driving.

"All the time, to and from work," Montgomery resident Joshua Sadler said.

"Sometimes I do. Sometimes I pull over," Union Springs resident Sheila Fields said.

"When you drive you have to drive for other people," Montgomery resident Davey Atkins said.

Some residents admit their guilty, but do realize it's a dangerous risk.

"It's definitely a bad thing and many accidents have been caused by it," Sadler said.

Statistics reveal in 2010 alone, there were more than 1900 accidents and five deaths related to using an electronic device while driving. Lawmakers are hopeful the new law will reduce those numbers.

But some drivers believe it's going to be really hard to enforce and others say it still won't force people to put down their phones.

"I don't think it will make much difference because it's already been citywide and I hadn't seen more difference," Sadler said.

"I don't think it's going to make a difference. People are still going to do what they want to do. I mean they're not going to pay attention," Fields said.

But come August 1st, if you are caught texting or e-mailing on your phone, expect to be pulled over and fined.

Keep in mind there are exceptions: if you're contacting emergency services, or using GPS devices. And you can text while the vehicle is stopped and in neutral or park.

"I still see people do it but I've also seen people pull over on the side of the ride to use their phones so the message is getting out there," Atkins said.

Alabama's new law will impose fines of $25 for the first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.

Remember, many cities, like Montgomery, already have distracted driving laws on the book. National statistics show the problem causes at least 125 fatalities a year.

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