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Will Alabama ban phone use for drivers?

Thousands of lives are lost every year to distracted driving, but texting alone isn’t the culprit. According to a University of Utah study, drivers who talk on the cell phone are just as impaired as intoxicated drivers with an .08 blood-alcohol level.

To cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents, more and more states are going beyond a simple ban on texting and driving. They’re passing a total ban on handheld devices for those behind the wheel.

In fact, sixteen states plus the District of Columbia have bans in place. The latest is Georgia, where a new law went into effect July 1 of this year. Should Alabama consider similar legislation to make the roads safer?

Clay Ingram with AAA Alabama thinks so.

“I think it would be a very good thing to have here,” says Ingram, public relations and marketing manager for the organization’s Alabama operations.

Your priorities change when you begin having a phone conversation with a handheld device, continues Ingram.

“You’re no longer just a driver,” he says. “You’re someone who happens to be driving while having a phone conversation.”

Ingram can see the parallels to drunk driving found in studies such as the one done in Utah.

“You don’t drive with a beer in your hand, so why would you drive with a phone in your hand?” he asks.

Ingram knows of no current plans for legislation in Alabama banning handheld devices while driving, but with some new faces set to arrive in Montgomery, he is optimistic.

Until then, AAA Alabama plans to continue their crusade against texting and driving.

“We just started a new campaign: ‘Don’t drive intoxicated. Don’t drive intexticated,’” says Ingram. “We want to do anything we can to make the highways safer.”

What do you think? Should Alabama ban the use of all handheld devices while driving?