Text messaging while driving now illegal

Posted: Tuesday, September 02, 2008

ANCORAGE - Driving-while-typing is now illegal in Alaska.

The state's ban on text messaging while driving officially took effect Monday. It's still legal to read text messages while driving, but not to type them.

Like the state's seat belt law, it is considered a primary offense, so an officer can pull a driver over if he or she suspects the driver is typing on an electronic device. But unlike other traffic violations, driving while texting could land a driver in jail.

Texting behind the wheel is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and one year in jail. If a driver hurts or kills someone or causes a crash that kills someone, the offense is increased to a felony.

Alaska is the fifth state to adopt such a law.

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