Question: Recently, some states and communities have banned the use of cell phones while driving. Do you foresee that happening in Alaska any time soon?
Answer: I cannot predict what the Legislature might do in upcoming sessions, although there currently does not seem to be much public outcry for this type of law in our state.
I can tell you that there is already a law that somewhat covers this situation. 13 AAC 02.495 (c) states in part that no person can hold anything in their hands that prevents the free and unhampered operation of the vehicle they are driving.
An example of where I have written this citation would be a person who had crashed their car while trying to fold a map. The law also could clearly be used when a person's driving ability is decreased by their use of a cell phone.
The penalty for this violation is $40 and 2 points on your license.
Studies have shown time and time again that driving while talking on your cell phone, eating or doing anything else that prevents you from focusing all of your attention on your driving significantly increases your chances of being in a collision.
If your call can wait a few minutes until you get to someplace you can stop, let it wait. The life you save may be your own.
If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603 or e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us.
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