House Approves Ban on Texting
Some legislators who once resisted the banning flipped sides
JUNEAU – Today the House of Representatives approved a ban on texting while driving.
The legislature thought it had dealt with this issue already, but a judge ruled that the existing statute was not explicit enough.
Every legislator who addressed the subject agreed that texting while driving is wrong, but some questioned whether it should be an automatic misdemeanor to read or write a text while a vehicle is in motion.
"You know, what's worse?” asked Representative Tammie Wilson (R-North Pole). “Eating in the car? Playing with the radio? Again, it is about common sense. I think everybody here knows texting is wrong and they should not be doing it as they drive down. Talking on the phone, being distracted in any fashion, is wrong. But where do we stop and where do we start?"
Other legislators who once resisted the banning flipped sides.
"I'm going to support this legislation, but I want to remind the folks that we can't continue to pass laws on technology that we can't keep up with,” said Representative Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage). “And not only our statutes can't keep up with it, but the police can't keep up with it. Law enforcement can't keep up with it."
"If I were making this decision on my own personal sense of freedom and righteousness, I would vote against this bill,” said Representative Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage). “But in representing my constituents I will be supporting this bill because that's something I’ve discovered. The vast majority of people I represent want this sort of legislation on our books."
With a vote of 34 to 5, the house sent that message to Alaska drivers. The bill will now go to the senate.