State Sen. McClendon proposed bill would levy fines of up to $200 for holding cell phone while driving
During an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal” that aired on Friday, State Sen. Jim McClendon (R-Springville) offered some details of a so-called hands-free bill he announced he would introduce in the upcoming legislative sessions late last year.
The bill would make it illegal for individuals to hold their cell phones while driving and is similar to a law passed in Georgia.
McClendon’s law would give an incentive to drivers to use hands-free devices, and perhaps avoid the pitfalls of distracted driving.
“The law — this proposed law, allows for one-button touch,” he explained. “On my car, it’s the steering wheel. You push one button, and it says, ‘What do you want to do?’ If you don’t have that built into your car, you just find the earpiece, and you just touch the earpiece … and then it sets up for voice recognition.”
McClendon said his proposal did allow for offenders to have the opportunity to have the charge dropped.
“One interesting part of this bill that I think everybody will like — on your first offense, if you present to the judge a device you have purchased in order to correct this problem, or evidence of a device — a receipt for your device, then you are forgiven. And there will be no offense. You will not be convicted of anything. There is sort of a get-out-of-jail-free pass on the first offense only. You must affirm to the judge you’ve never used this excuse before. It’s a way for first-time offenders to avoid having a charge against them, having points, paying court costs and seeing what happens to their auto insurance.”
McClendon told “Capitol Journal” host Don Dailey the fines would be $100 for the first offense, $150 for the second offense and $200 for the third offense, in addition to points on your driver’s license, which he said may impact auto insurance rates, and court costs.