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Friday, 26 October 2018 15:23

AL Lawmakers Get Closer to Passing Hands-Free Driving Laws

Written by Patience Itson, Bham Now
Distracted driving due to cell phones continues to increase in Alabama. Distracted driving due to cell phones continues to increase in Alabama. Sutter Health.


Hey drivers! Put down that cell phone because Alabama is on the verge of passing hands-free driving laws in March 2019.


Admit it: Your cell phone is your best friend. At work, at home, at the store and in the car, your phone is always right there with you.


While your cell phone may be a safety precaution when behind the wheel, for most it is mainly used for talking, texting, navigation, music and more. It’s okay to admit it. I, too, have fallen in love with a piece of technology. Take it away for even 30 minutes, and I start to feel a bit anxious.


But here’s the “funny” thing about it. Our cell phones may have started out as a safety precaution while driving, but now, they are a main cause of us being unsafe behind the wheel. The reason: They distract us.


Texting and Driving in Alabama


Currently in Alabama, drivers can be ticketed for texting and driving. However, there is no official law banning adult drivers from using a hand-held device.


(If you didn’t know, those who are 16 years old are prohibited from all cell phone use when behind the wheel, while those who are 17 years old have the same restriction if they have had their driver’s permit for fewer than six months.)


So here’s the problem. With technology continuing to claim our attention while driving, the risk and number of fatal car crashes continues to rise. Yikes!


Some Stats


According to a study by the University of Alabama, the number of reported cases where distracted driving caused the crash increased by 20 percent in 2016 over 2014. Not good!


So check this out. This past July, our Georgia neighbors passed a hands-free driving law, and guess what. The number of fatalities has decreased by 11 percent. That’s a pretty good percentage so far.


Pros of Hand-Held Driving Laws


Here’s the situation. Even though you currently aren’t allowed to touch your cell phone while behind the wheel, you can still use it for things like conversations, GPS/navigation, etc. This means there is still cognitive distraction at play. So is there really any point to hands-free driving laws?

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