DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - Starting August 1 you are no longer allowed to text and drive in the state of Alabama. Governor Robert Bentley recently signed the bill, but the ban isn't new to some local drivers. The city of Daphne has had a texting ban ordinance on the books since January.
With all of the distractions drivers already face, city leaders in Daphne imposed a texting ban ordinance that they feel will help keep folks safe.
"I think it a good thing. It's very dangerous. It puts a lot of kids at risk and even adults. I'm all for it," Wade Kennedy said.
Many drivers have been in favor of the rule.
Sgt. Reginald Ardis said texting while driving can have the level of impairment similar to a level of alcohol intoxication.
"A couple of times we had fatalities or near fatalities where we think texting was involved," he added.
Currently, under the city law, texting is a secondary offense. That means another violation will have to occur before you could be pulled over.
Governor Bentley's law is slightly different.
"With the new state law that has just passed, it has become a primary violation so no other violation is necessary to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle and investigate the texting," Ardis said.
The law said you can't text while driving. What if you're dialing a number or looking something up, how do they prove that violation?
"Proving may be difficult. There are elements of this law that exclude GPS unit, dialing numbers. Talking on the phone is not yet illegal. Anytime we accuse a person of committing a crime it's on the city or state to prove that it happened. Many times in cases of traffic violations it's our word against theirs. If you're able to prove it, the judge will dismiss the case. There are challenges we'll face and have to approach that as it happens," said Ardis.
Ardis believes the city will probably eliminate its ordinance once the state code takes effect. Despite the kinks that still need to be worked out, the law stands as a beneficial deterrent.
Since the city law has been in effect, Daphne Police have had two cases of texting while driving. The cases are scheduled to go to court Tuesday. The Mobile Police Department said when it receives the new state law, it will evaluate the ban, train officers and put the law into effect.
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