With over 1.3 million auto accidents involving the use of cellphones in 2011, we all know that using a cellphone while driving is an incredibly hazardous thing to do. Or do we? According to this insightful graphic, it appears that while many of us know the perils involved, not all of us are practicing what we preach. One of the items we found most disturbing is that over half of all young adults consider it “easy” to text while driving. Maybe they think that because just under half of kids ages 12-17 have been in a car while the driver was texting. Frightening!
Fortunately, Alabama is one of the majority of states that has passed laws governing the use of cellphones and texting while driving. Here is an overview of what is prohibited, and what sort of enforcement you may expect.
In 2012, Alabama became the 38th state to ban texting while driving. There are no exceptions to this; the ban includes all vehicles, either private or commercial.
Cellphone use, on the other hand, is a different matter. While adults have no restrictions on the use of cellphones, either handheld or hands-free, novice drivers are a different matter. All 16-year-old drivers, as well as those 17-year-olds with an intermediate license less than 6 months old are banned from using cellphones entirely. This includes both handheld use as well as hands free.
As far as enforcement is concerned, the texting laws in Alabama are considered primary laws. This means that an officer can pull a driver over solely for violating the texting ban, without having to witness some other violation. Meanwhile, the prohibition against novice drivers and cellphone use is a secondary law, where the officer would need to see some other violation at the same time, like running a red light.
The penalties for texting while driving start at $25 for the first offense, then increasing to $50 and $75 after that. In addition, the driver will be penalized two points against their driver’s licence.
Texting while driving makes a driver 26 times more likely to get in an accident. Of course, regular cellphone use isn’t in the clear either; even just talking on a cellphone makes an accident 1.3 times more likely. Perhaps it is best to just pull over before you have to make that call.
If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident, and especially if texting or cellphone use was involved, you’ll want a strong advocate working hard for you. In that case, please do not hesitate to contact us.