Holding a phone while driving could soon be illegal in Alabama

A bill to make it illegal to look at a phone while driving is being considered in the Alabama legislature.

Posted: Mar 20, 2019 6:12 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2019 8:40 PM

A bill to make it illegal to look a phone while driving is moving through the legislature.

An Alabama House Committee pushed forward one of the toughest cell phone bans in the country on Wednesday. Texting while driving is already illegal, but the bill would prohibit a person from looking at a phone to change a song or to read an email from work. It could result in a fine.

"It is very shocking how many people come into the hospital from texting and driving and being on their phone in general," said a driver, Kaitlyn Jones.

Jones used to work at Huntsville Hospital and said she saw about 15 people a week come in for injuries caused by distracted driving.

"They would come in with head injuries because they were texting and driving and being on their phone," said Jones.

A bill working its way through the Alabama statehouse would make it illegal to have your phone in your hand while driving.

"It's just like a whole big distraction in itself," said Jones.

There are few exceptions. For example, law enforcement officials are allowed to use phones and GPS.

Jones says she won't even use her phone for navigation.

"I don't like having my hands on anything else besides the steering wheel, probably just because of the experience at the hospital," said Jones.

A ticket for holding your phone can get up to $150, and one driver says that's unreasonable.

"It's a little ridiculous, especially if they are just holding it. If you can't tell that they are actually doing something that's going to impact either them or someone else, I don't really see the harm," said a driver, Emily Church.

Jones says nothing is so important it can't wait when you're talking about peoples' lives.

"There's kids in the cars, there's fiances out there, husbands, wives, just people that we care about that we would rather come home to than have to come to the hospital to see," said Jones.

According to the bill, the first offense would be a $50 ticket, the next one would be $100 and the third would be $150. Some drivers told WAAY 31 the ticket costs were a little extreme, but Jones said they are reasonable.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Allen Farley and was approved on Wednesday by the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. It still needs to be approved by the rest of the house.

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