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.
- Roughly 6,000 state workers were unable to log in to their computers, affecting two in five executive branch workers.
- The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.
- One of the Sealaska regional Native corporation’s longest-serving leaders is stepping down. Rosita Worl says she will not run for another term after 30 years on the board.
- President Donald Trump’s budget outline calls for eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA has been a frequent target of Republicans, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski supports the endowment, and Tuesday she won the 2017 Congressional Arts Leadership Award.