Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Alaska Law: Smart Phones, Texting and Driving
In the case of cell phones, you can't text but you can talk, and it’s not illegal to make a call--even if that involves dialing and driving.
Many Alaskans don’t know the laws when it comes to using cell phones behind the wheel. A law passed in 2008 says it’s okay to talk and drive, but it’s not okay to text while driving-even if you are stopped at an intersection.
Assistant Attorney General Clint Campion says Alaskans who do could face charges as well as steep fines. He says texting while driving is considered a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine that could run as high as $10,000.
But Campion says you can use your cell phone to make calls even if you have to dial.
“We still don’t want you to be a distracted driver so if you are focused on dialing a number when you should be driving, that really isn’t safe,” says Campion.
“But that conduct by itself is not prohibited by the statute. What we are really focusing on is the texting or displays on your phone, the kinds of things that really distract you from driving.”
He says the bottom line is that people who are looking at their phones aren’t likely to be looking at the road and that puts everybody at risk.