But some judges say the law passed in 2008 is not clear, so legislation is on the move that specifically prohibits drivers from reading or typing a text, email or other message while their vehicle is in motion.
A Fairbanks judge has advised magistrates to refuse texting cases and a Kenai judge has thrown out a case against a driver for texting.
That case is on appeal. Anchorage Democrat Les Gara told the House Transportation Committee Thursday that lawmakers should not wait for a court ruling before fixing the statute.
“I think you only really need one fact and that is, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures, drivers who text while they drive are 20 times more likely to have an accident than people who don’t text,” Gara said.
Calling it “the new drunk driving,” he says texting while driving has been taken up by the national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
House Bill 255 moved out of the transportation committee Thursday, heading for judiciary.
The legislation states that texting is illegal while the vehicle is underway. Gara said reading or sending a text while parked should not be a crime.
- August 31, 2015- President Barack Obama touched down in Alaska Monday for a three-day tour to the state, and beyond focusing on climate change in visits to Anchorage, Dillingham, and Kotzebue, the president began his trip by restoring the Koyukon Athabascan name to North America’s highest mountain.
- August 31, 2015- The president, secretary of state and leaders from around the world are in Anchorage to discuss climate change.
- August 31, 2015- President Barack Obama’s visit to Alaska this week, aimed at highlighting his push to fight climate change, comes just two weeks after his administration approved drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean.
- August 30, 2015- He's giving the mountain its Koyukon Athabascan name on the eve of a historic presidential visit to Alaska.