Edgar: Opp may pursue texting-while-driving ban

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Opp’s city council met Tuesday night to discuss a problem that is beginning to plague the city’s streets — inattentive drivers who are sending text messages on their cell phones while behind the wheel.

Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar said it is possible there may be a city ordinance passed in the future to fight the problem.

“We talked about this issue in our workshop before the council meeting,” he said. “It’s a problem. If you’re looking down and texting on the phone, then you might cross over the center line, or run a stop sign. It’s a lot more dangerous than just talking on the cell phone or using a hands-free headset.”

Edgar added that someone recently had a wreck at a four-way stop on Maloy Street and Old Perry Store Road, because the motorist was busy either sending or receiving a text message.

Edgar said the city must first consult with its attorney, Wesley Laird, about how to address the problem and whether Opp can legally pass such a law.

“In the mean time, we’d just like to ask our drivers to refrain from texting while driving,” Edgar said.

Earlier this year, the state’s House of Representatives passed legislation that would ban the practice in Alabama, but the bill died in the Senate and never came up for a final vote.

In other business, the council:

Renewed a liquor license for Cody’s, located on U.S. Hwy 331.

Recognized Arlin Davis, a local sports official who was recently inducted into the Wiregrass Hall of Fame. Edgar presented Davis with a resolution proclaiming his accomplishments.

Approved the planning board’s recommendation to rezone a property from R-3 multi-family to B-2 neighborhood business. The property is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Morgan Street.

Transferred ownership of two properties from the Utilities Board to the Industrial Development Board. The parcels of land are located in the MFG/MFG-Galileo industrial park area on U.S. Hwy. 331. The ownership transfer is necessary to facilitate additional industrial development in the park.