Alabama lawmakers propose ban on driving while holding cell phone

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( — Alabama lawmakers are proposing legislation that would ban holding a cell phone while driving.

Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, filed a bill this week, the first opportunity for lawmakers to formally submit bills in advance of the legislative session, which starts March 5. Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, is sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate.

Alabama law currently bans texting while driving but does not ban holding a phone while driving.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have bans on holding a phone while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. One of those is Georgia, where the law took effect in July 2018.

Farley and McClendon said their bills are based on the law in Georgia.

“The purpose is very simple but it’s extremely serious,” Farley said. “It would hopefully save lives.”

Farley’s bill would make it illegal to drive and “physically hold or otherwise support with any part of the person’s body a wireless telecommunication device or standalone electronic device.”

A first offense would make the driver subject to a $50 fine. The fine would be $100 for a second offense and $150 for third and subsequent offenses.

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