DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - Wednesday, Alabama will become the 38th state to ban the practice of texting while driving.
The ban, signed into law in May, will ban text messaging, e-mailing and instant messaging while behind the wheel.
"If we are able to save one life, it will be worth it. This is another tool in our tool box," said Sgt. Joe Piggott with the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
For some time, FOX10 has alerted you to the dangers of texting while driving through our W82TXT program.
Cities across the state have tried similar measures in the past but with little success. If Alabama drivers are caught sending messages from their phones while driving after August 1, it will cost them.
"Texting takes so much thought away from the road and things can happen in a matter of a split second," said Lt. Jud Beedy, with the Daphne Police Department.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety said distracted driving like this caused more than 2,000 crashes in 2010 and claimed five lives.
Daphne police have tried to stop texting while driving before.
The city has a law on the books that bans texting while driving. But it hasn't yielded significant results.
Police hope this new statewide crackdown will do the trick.
The state law makes texting and driving a primary offense meaning, if police spot you texting, they can stop you.
"Whereas the city of Daphne it was a secondary offense which means we could stop you for another offense and if we saw you texting too we could issue a citation," said Beedy.
Under the new law , the penalties for texting while driving are as follows: $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $75 for the third.
Plus, two points will be added to your driving record, which could mean higher insurance premiums and other legal consequences.
Sgt. Piggott compared texting while driving to drunk driving.
"It is impaired driving," said Piggott. "Drivers who are drunk tend to follow too close, stay stopped at lights too long, drift over the center line and hardly ever use a turn signal. The same goes for texting while driving."
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