Officials hope Alabama texting ban will decrease accidents

While many individuals know certain activities may be harmful or even dangerous, it's sometimes hard to break old habits. One habit that drivers in Alabama would be wise to break, however, is texting while driving. In an effort to decrease car accidents, Alabama recently became the 38th state to enact a law banning drivers from texting.

The ban, which went into effect on Aug. 1, aims to reduce the number of car accidents caused by drivers who are distracted. In recent years, the many dangers associated with texting and driving have gained national attention. The focus on dangers associated with texting while driving can be attributed to several factors.

First, teenagers tend to be more prone to engage in texting activity. Teen drivers are also much more likely to be involved in car accidents. Therefore, when you combine teen drivers and texting, the results can be dangerous and even deadly.

According to one Alabama State Trooper, during 2010, distractions caused by use of electronic devices contributed to 1,256 car accidents and five fatal accidents. While these numbers are shocking, the real number of accidents where a driver was texting or distracted by use of an electronic device is likely much higher, but often goes unreported.

Another reason texting while driving is particularly dangerous is because it requires the use of an individual's eyes, hands and brain. Other distracting activities, while dangerous, often do not require an individual to take their eyes off the road.

Fines for Alabama drivers who are caught texting while driving start at $25 for the first offense. Second offenders will incur a fine of $50 and those ticketed a third time must pay a fine of $75. Additionally, third-time offenders will receive two penalty points on their driver's license and likely see an increase in their insurance premiums.

Source: Alabama Live, "Texting while driving ban starts Wednesday in Alabama," Mike Oliver, July 30, 2012

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