Alaska’s distracted driving law prohibits text messaging while driving. But there’s currently no state-wide ban on cellphone use while driving. This article gives the specifics of the texting law and the penalties you’ll face for a violation.
Text Messaging and Screen Devices
In Alaska, it’s illegal for all motorists to read or type a text message or other nonvoice message or communication on a cellphone or other electronic device while operating a vehicle that’s in motion. It’s also against the law to operate a vehicle that’s in motion while any screen devices—like a television, tablet, or computer—is operating and in full view of the driver in a normal seated position.
Exceptions. Alaska’s distracted driving law contains a number of exceptions. The law’s restrictions don’t apply to:
- cellphones or other devices being used for voice communications or displaying caller identification information
- vehicle audio equipment and controls
- GPS and navigation systems
- displays to enhance or supplement the driver’s view (such as reverse cameras)
- displays that all the driver to monitor vehicle occupants seated behind the driver
- vehicle dispatching information for passenger transportation or freight or package delivery
- information for use in highway construction, maintenance, or repair
- information for use in utility construction, maintenance, or repair, or
- devices and equipment installed in emergency vehicles.
Texting Ticket Penalties
The possible penalties for a distracted driving ticket are:
- Standard violation. Generally, distracted driving is a violation and carries a maximum $500 fine.
- Injuries. A distracted driving violation involving injuries to another person is a class C felony. A convicted driver faces up to five years in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine.
- Serious injuries. A distracted driving violation involving serious physical injuries to another person is a class B felony. Convicted motorists face a maximum ten years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
- Deaths. A distracted driving violation involving the death of another person is a class A felony. Convicted drivers are looking at a maximum 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
A distracted driving violation will also add two demerit points to the motorist’s driving record.
Other Possible Charges
Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.