Alaska law penalizes distracted driving

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ANCHORAGE - A new state law gives drivers a reason to pay closer attention to the road and not their electronics devices.

Gov. Sarah Palin signed a bill Monday making it a misdemeanor to watch a DVD, send a text message or tinker with an iPod while driving.

However, should these devices distract a driver who ultimately injures or kills another, the crime then becomes a felony.

The law goes into effect Sept. 1.

People can still check their cars' global positioning screen and talk on a cell phone while driving.

A fatal accident six years ago on Seward Highway prompted the new law.

In that case, authorities accused a driver of watching a DVD when his car collided with another vehicle, killing two people. He was acquitted.

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