The first person in Kodiak has been caught under the state’s new texting and driving law.
Texting while driving became illegal in Alaska on May 11 after Gov. Sean Parnell signed the bill into law on May 10. A previous bill covering texting while driving was thrown out by the courts.
To date, only one charge for breaking the law has been filed in Kodiak.
“We’ve had two instances of texting while driving,” Kodiak Police Chief T.C. Kamai said. “We had one event on Sept. 3 that resulted in the arrest of the subject for not only texting, but also for driving on a revoked license.”
Brockson Cowthran, 28, was charged with two misdemeanors for driving with a suspended license and texting while driving. Both were class A misdemeanors.
According to court documents, Cowthran was initially pulled over for speeding in a school zone near the intersection of Benny Benson and Rezanof drives.
Cowthran admitted he was distracted while driving because he was trying to send a text message, the documents read.
Cowthran also received a fine for speeding in a school zone. The fines for the misdemeanors will be decided in court.
On Sept. 4, another officer issued a texting while driving warning in Kodiak.
The officer observed a juvenile texting in a vehicle that was not on a public street.
“The officer contacted the juvenile to remind him that texting while driving was a violation of Alaska law,” Kamai said. “The young man changed his behavior so only a warning was issued.”
The wording of the law prevents drivers from texting and using applications while driving; talking on a cell phone is still legal.