Starting Wednesday, texting, emailing and instant messaging while driving will become illegal in Alabama, with violators facing fines and possibly higher insurance rates.
Republican Rep. Jim McClendon of Springville persuaded lawmakers to approve legislation in April that made Alabama the 38th state to ban the practice. His legislation delayed enforcement until Aug. 1 to allow the public and police to become familiar with the law.
McClendon predicts the law will make highways safer and save lives. The state Department of Public Safety reports that distraction from an electronic communication device caused more than 1,200 accidents in Alabama in 2010 and claimed five lives.