The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, July 25, 2012:
On Monday, we aired pieces in our evening newscasts talking about the unfortunate and scary prevalence of drivers choosing to text while driving on our highways. In the news segments, researchers and police officers alike talked about the multiple ways drivers are impaired while texting. Distracted drivers are not focused on the road, both of their hands are not on the wheel and their cognitive skills are compromised.
A police officer told our reporter, Beth Shelburne, that texting drivers lose their peripheral vision while focusing on their phones, preventing them from seeing walkers and bikers on the shoulder of the road.
In June, two deaths were attributed to a driver distracted while using a cell phone. In 2010, according to the Alabama Public Safety Department, electronic communications were involved in over 1,200 accidents, as well as five deaths. All of those accidents and deaths could have been easily prevented if the drivers would have chosen not to communicate electronically.
On August 1st, Alabama's new texting law goes into effect. It specifically bans the sending of text messages, emails and instant messages for the driver. Exceptions allow for contacting emergency services and GPS systems. Alabama is the 38th state to pass a no texting law. While i applaud the state for passing the bill, I am at a loss as to why the fines are so small… $25 for the first offense and $75 for the third…not nearly high enough to get people to change their habits! What do you think?
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