Prefiled bills take aim at distracted driving, smoking in cars
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Some Alabama lawmakers are looking to change a few state laws dealing with what happens when you get behind the wheel.

Rep. Rolanda Hollis’s bill bans smoking in a car when children 14 or younger are present. She says it stems from her own experience with her husband who smokes.

“I got in, closed the door, and I got out,” Hollis (D-Birmingham) said. “‘Man, I cannot breathe in this truck.’ And I’m thinking, ‘What about children that do not have a choice? That couldn’t step back out like I did?’”

Hollis says she sees smoke-filled vehicles with children too often and worries that exposure could create health problems down the road.

“Let’s save our children from asthma, bronchitis, breathing problems. This is what this bill is about,” Hollis said.

Those violating the law could face a $100 fine. Law enforcement, however, would have to pull you over for another reason in order to cite you for smoking with children present.

Hollis has brought this bill in years past with mixed success– it passed in the House but failed in the Senate.

Another bill expands the state’s current no texting and driving law, adding to it a ban on making handheld phone calls, watching videos or taking photos while driving.

“Sometimes, you’ll see people driving down the road on Facetime,” ALDOT’s Drive Safe Alabama Coordinator Allison Green said.

Green says distracted driving is a growing problem in the state, and ALDOT supports efforts to strengthen that law.

“Certainly willing to work with other stakeholders in the state to make this a safer place for our drivers and passengers,” Green said.

According to Green, distracted driving was directly responsible for 49 fatalities in Alabama in 2021.

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