AAA endorses new bill that bans texting while driving

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - AAA of Alabama endorses a proposed ban on texting while driving. The bill is currently stalled in the state senate.

The bill would make texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning you couldn't be pulled over just for texting.

Some states ban talking on a cell phone while driving, but in 19 states, texting while driving is against the law. And AAA of Alabama is hoping this state will be the 20th to enact a texting ban.

"It's different than reading a billboard as you go or having a softdrink or changing the radio because it takes your eyes off the road, your attention off the road, and 1 hand off the steering wheel," said AAA's Clay Ingram.

In fact, Ingram says the level of danger to other drivers from a distracted texter is the same as if that driver were drunk.

So why would drivers do it?

"It's addictive," said Jasmin Buckley, a 19-year old Birmingham driver.

Buckley even stayed on her cell phone for an entire interview, but she was able to break away long enough to weigh in on a possible texting ban. "I think it's a good idea, I don't think it's gonna stick."

"I've done it, but I try not to" said Robert Avery, a 20-year old driver. "I usually text when I'm parked right before I go into a place or home. I mean it's a good ban, but it's hard to enforce, you can't catch everybody."

But AAA says catching every text before it happens isn't the goal.

"In general people are law-abiding," Ingram said. "And just the fact that it's against the law would keep a lot of people from doing it. We know from studies done around the country in states that do have this law, that it has had a very noticeable impact and has reduced the number of people that text while they drive."

A texting ban bill died for lack of action in the state senate during last year's session.

This year's bill, along with another one that would expand some restrictions on 1st-time drivers, both sailed through the house and are now stuck in committee in the senate.