HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A new hands-free driving ordinance was recently passed by Huntsville City Council members.
By law in Alabama, holding a cell phone while driving a vehicle is already a Class C misdemeanor, but the new legislation will take that law a step further for drivers in Huntsville.
At the beginning of the new year, holding a cell phone while driving a vehicle will be outlawed in Huntsville. City leaders are hoping the new law will prevent distracted driving related accidents, but there are certain instances where a wireless communication device can be used.
One of the few exceptions to the ordinance is that you can use your cell phone while in stopped traffic.
However, the city’s new legislation only allows cell phone use while driving in a vehicle if it can be operated through a Bluetooth system or a mounted device. It also permits quick swipes across a phone’s touch screen for instance, to end a call.
A violation of the new law will be considered a primary offense, but council members decided to remove imprisonment for a 3rd violation, which will now include a $150 fine and community service.
People like Rocket City resident Douglas Smoot say he’s hoping this will create safer roadways in for the city.
“I think it will hopefully save a lot of people from injuries, death, loss of productivity, and reduce health care costs,” Smoot said.
Others like Jacob Franks are also hoping it will prevent distracted driver related accidents. However, because the new law makes it less difficult for the police to enforce it, he’s hoping members of law enforcement don’t overreach.
“I’m looking to see if with this added power can the police prove and substantiate that they are pulling over these individuals and its warranted,” Franks told News 19. “It’s you see them on their phones or there’s a way to prove that and their not unjustly using this extra power.”
For those traveling throughout Huntsville, that hands-free driving ordinance will go into effect on January 1st. There will be a six-month warning period to begin 2024 prior to any citations being distributed.
A full breakdown of the new legislation can be found here.