New bill could make it illegal to hold your cell phone while driving

Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A new bill could soon ban you from holding your cell phone while driving.

State Rep, Randy Wood is proposing the bill, HB8, to save lives from distracted drivers.

Of course, texting and driving is already illegal in Alabama, but Wood says the new bill would help even more.

This week, it won full approval in the Public Safety Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Rep. Wood says it’s all in the name of preserving a life.

“A life is precious. It doesn’t make a difference-- how hold you are, how young you are- a life means everything. If it’s important enough that you need to call somebody- pull over. It’s going to be okay to use Bluetooth,” stated Wood.

This isn’t the first time the bill has been brought to the table.

“It made it to the Senate twice, and it’s failed twice,” explained Wood.

Wood’s friend, a former representative, narrowly missed passing the same bill through the Senate last year.

“He’s a good friend of mine. He was really adamant about this thing. He was very concerned. His daughter got in a car wreck and it killed her. He’s not for sure she was on the phone, but he’s pretty sure she was,” added Wood.

However, he says he has high hopes this year.

“Jabo Waggoner is a chairman in the Senate- he says if we can get it through the House, they’ll pass it through the Senate. We just have to keep trying and doing our best to get this bill passed,” he said.

FOX10 News took to the streets to see how the public feels about the bill.

“I think it’s a good idea to make the law because a lot of people are being killed, innocent people, and you can’t really concentrate when you have your phone up to your ear and your texting and looking down,” said Donald Hudson. “I’ve experienced it a lot out here where people are just not paying attention.”

“I’m not saying I’m one way or the other, but I can see the benefits of putting the phone down while driving and then pulling over to take that phone call, and doing those text messages that you need,” said Rachel Hester.

“I think it should be illegal because that’s how so many wrecks happen and people don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” added Betty Matthews. “I almost got hit by a car the other day.”

Rep. Wood says he doesn’t want to infringe upon folks’ rights. He argues that this is a matter of life or death.

“I understand how the public feels- ‘I don’t want the government telling me what to do’ and we don’t want to tell our constituents what to do,” he said. “Sometimes, when you have a situation like this, we want to save lives because you can’t bring them back. We want to do our best to do everything humanly possible so that they don’t get into that situation.”

So what’s next for the bill? Rep. Wood says it will go to the Rules Committee.

Meanwhile, he plans to work on the bill, focusing especially on how law enforcement would implement this law.