The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 News General Manager Collin Gaston, which first aired on Wednesday, July 5, 2017:
No message received or sent on your wireless device is worth putting your or others' lives at risk. According to the Drive Safe Alabama website, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver. A quarter of teenagers respond to a text message one or more times each time they drive.
DMV.com states that in Alabama, drivers are banned from sending, receiving or writing text messages while driving a vehicle. First time offenders are subject to a $25 fine and receive two demerit points on their driver’s license. A second offense increases the fine to $50. The third time the fine increases to $75.
I think these fines need to be increased, but perhaps more important, a loss of driving privileges for a period of time should come on the second offense and definitely on a third. That's especially true for teen drivers. The fines and penalties must be strong enough to deter distracted driving. I, like many people, witness motorists driving erratically and putting people at risk. When I drive by these vehicles it never fails; I see someone texting while driving.
I implore everyone to not text and drive. When you get into your vehicles, put your phone away or turn it off. Distracted driving does one thing and one thing only: it kills people.
If you would like to respond to this editorial, email firstname.lastname@example.org, write to:
P.O. Box 6
Birmingham, Alabama 35201
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