Texting ban is a needed one in Alabama

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don’t send a text message. Especially if you’re driving.

That’s the message of new legislation awaiting Gov. Robert Bentley’s signature. The law, passed by both the House and Senate, bans text messaging and emailing while driving illegal in Alabama.

When the law takes effect Aug. 1, Alabama joins 37 other states that ban text messages for drivers –a move that seems almost like a “no brainer” these days.

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Studies have proven the dangers of texting and driving. In the few seconds it takes to glance away from the road to a mobile device, drivers can swerve into oncoming traffic; pedestrians; or other obstacles. In fact, drivers who use mobile phones are four times more likely to have wrecks serious enough to kill or injure themselves or others.

And that seems like an unnecessary risk.

Getting behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle is risky enough. Add to that maneuvering that vehicle at 60 mphs, and the risks increase substantially. Toss in the dangers caused by other drivers; the distractions of noisy passengers, or tuning the radio, or even fiddling for items in a handbag and the risks increase even more. So why compound the situation by texting while driving?

The new law isn’t a panacea. Enforcement will be a challenge, particularly with loopholes that allow texting in emergency situations or texting while parked at a stoplight. But it is a start. And if the penalties attached to the law – including a two-point hit on your driver’s license – help discourage drivers from taking the added risk then good for us.

Texting and driving is just too dangerous, too deadly.

So kudos to lawmakers for taking a step to minimize this risk on our state’s highways.