According to Talladega City Schools spokeswoman Joni Baker, “Robert Richardson started the program by talking with the students about the dangers of texting and driving. Students were asked to relate to him how many times each day they normally text and if any of these texts are sent while driving. Next, Linda Mays presented her program and had the students view two videos about families who have lost children or had a child injured because of texting and driving. Mays asked all the students to raise their hands if they were willing to sign a ‘don’t text and drive’ pledge card. All of our students were willing to sign the pledge, which states ‘No text is worth my life, or the life of someone else on the road. Today, I make a serious commitment to refrain from texting behind the wheel, driv(ing) without distractions; engage(ing) in safe driving practices and encourage(ing) my friends and family to do the same.’”
Talladega Police Chief Jason Busby also addressed the students, giving them “the legal perspective of the issue and made them aware of the fines involved if they text and drive,” Baker said.
According to Lt. Alan Kelly, police “will be increasing their enforcement of preventing texting drivers and will increase saturation patrols looking for motorists who may be texting and driving.”
Kelly went on to say that the pledge is part of a statewide effort to “raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving through high visibility enforcement and public education tools.”
Busby added “This is a critical law enforcement program that can save lives, as statistics show that 11 teenagers are killed on a daily basis when texting and driving.”
Kelly told the students “In 2012, Alabama became the 38th state to ban texting while driving. All drivers are prohibited from texting. Novice drivers are also banned from all cell phone use. Cell phone use novice drivers in Alabama, those aged 16 or 17 with an intermediate license less than six months, are banned from using cell phones, both handheld and hands-free. Bus drivers, like all drivers, are also banned from texting.”
Fines including court costs are $216 for the first offense, $241 for second offense and $266 for a third or subsequent offense. Each offense also carries two points against an Alabama driver’s license. Texting and using a cell phone behind the wheel are both cause for a driver to be pulled over by a police officer, he said.
There are three types of distracted driving, he added: manual, visual and cognitive. Texting behind the wheel combines all three.