U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today applauded Alabama Governor Robert Bentley for signing a new law that prohibits text messaging while driving.
"With Governor Bentley's signature, now more than three-quarters of all states outlaw one of the riskiest behaviors behind the wheel -- texting and driving," said Secretary LaHood. "Alabama roads and motorists will be safer as a result of this law, which reminds everyone that we cannot ignore the potentially life-altering dangers associated with text messaging and driving."
Alabama becomes the 38th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel by all drivers. The new law takes effect on August 1 and violators will be fined $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.
Alabama and 37 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging by all drivers. Ten states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.
In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend of dangerous distracted driving behavior in America. To help further raise awareness, the U.S. DOT also launched Distraction.gov, a dedicated website that provides the public with a comprehensive source of information on distracted driving.
The Department has also hosted two national summits devoted to the issue, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department's successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.
In November 2010, the Department of Transportation announced "Faces of Distracted Driving," a video series featuring people from across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes. To watch videos from the "Faces of Distracted Driving" series, and to learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation's campaign against distracted driving, visit Distraction.gov.