Alabama bans texting and driving, offers car safety courses for teens

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The Alabama state legislature passed a bill earlier this year, banning drivers from sending or reading text based messages while operating a motor vehicle. The bill it takes effect beginning August 1, 2012 after being signed into law by the state’s governor. In order to accustom inexperienced motorists to the new law, a series of single day instructional courses warning teen drivers of the dangers of distracted driving is scheduled to take place in June and July of 2012 in Madison County, Alabama. In a joint effort between the local school district and the Madison County Sheriff’s office, the classes will be conducted at various high schools throughout the county. In order to sign up for the class, students must have an Alabama state issued driver’s license or learner’s permit. The instructional series will be a combination of lectures and hands on behind the wheel educational demonstrations. The driving portion will evaluate student driving ability under normal circumstances as compared to their ability to safely operate a vehicle while sending or reading text messages, selecting songs on an mp3 player, and attempting to retrieve items from the backseat, while the lecture portion will cover topics such as proper behavior during traffic stops, laws governing seatbelts and driving while impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs. According to accident data compiled by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 Americans were killed in traffic collisions involving a distracted driver in 2010.