Distracted Driving Laws in Alabama
Distracted driving in Alabama is dangerous, costly and greatly increases the risk of traffic-related fatalities, especially amongst teenage drivers. According to national distracted driving facts, 25 percent of teenage motorists admit to sending at least one text message every time they get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. However, other distractions may include reading a text message, email and instant message, or entering an address into a GPS system.
To prevent distracted driving accidents in AL, the state has banned the use of handheld telecommunication devices whenever motorists are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. For instance, the act of texting and driving or reading an email or instant message is illegal throughout the state of Alabama. If motorists break these laws, then they will accumulate points on their driving records, receive a traffic ticket and they will need to pay a fine. For additional facts about distracted driving in Alabama, review the information below.
What is distracted driving in Alabama?
Most Alabama driving distractions pertain to the use of handheld wireless telecommunication devices, including cell phones, digital assistants and standalone computers or tablets. When motorists use a handheld wireless device while operating a motor vehicle, they increase their risk of causing a traffic accident or a driving-related fatality. For instance, drivers who text while operating a motor vehicle are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who do not drive distractedly.
Moreover, the number of texting and driving accidents in Alabama increased by around 20 percent between the years 2014 and 2016, making the action a major issue amongst motorists in the state. In addition to the act of texting while driving, other types of distractions may include eating or drinking, using a phone’s navigation system, grooming, talking on the phone or to other passengers and watching a video while operating a motor vehicle.
Distracted Driving Laws in Alabama for Handheld Devices
Under the Alabama distracted driving law, motorists may not use wireless telecommunication devices while operating a motor vehicle, unless the device is voice-operated. For instance, drivers may use their voices to activate the features of their mobile device without the use of either hand if they wish to make a phone call. However, as an exception to this rule, motorists may use their hands to activate or deactivate phone-related functions.
Other exceptions to these laws on distracted driving pertain to motorists who need to use a wireless device for navigational or GPS purposes. However, motorists must pre-program the desired coordinates into their mobile device before operating the motor vehicle, as failure to do so is a violation under Alabama legislature. Moreover, motorists may use a wireless device while parked on the shoulder of a public road or highway or if they need to request emergency law enforcement or health services.
Texting and Driving Laws in Alabama
As part of the AL texting while driving laws, motorists may not use a wireless device to read or send a text-based message while operating a motor vehicle on public roads, highways or city streets. Under the no texting and driving policy (or Section 32-5A-350 under Title 32 of the Alabama Legislature), drivers cannot read or write an email, instant message or text message while operating a motor vehicle. However, they may select or enter a name or telephone number into their wireless device if they wish to make a phone call, as voice communication is permitted.
Alabama Laws on Distracted Driving for Novice Drivers
Any type of cell phone use while driving in AL is prohibited when motorists are 16 years of age. Additionally, these laws against distracted driving pertain to motorists who are 17 years of age and have been licensed for less than six months. For instance, these novice motorists cannot use any type of handheld device while operating a motor vehicle, unless the device is essential to the vehicle’s overall functioning. Novice drivers may have their driver’s license suspended and/or motorists may need to hold a graduated driver’s license for an extended period of time if they violate these laws.
Alabama Distracted Driving Regulations for CDL Holders
Laws on distracted driving in Alabama are the same regardless of whether motorists hold a regular Class D credential or a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Distracted Driving Penalties in Alabama
Several distracted driving consequences in AL include traffic citations and fines of between $25 and $75. For instance, motorists must pay $25 after their first violation, $50 after the second offense and $75 after the third or any subsequent offenses. Additionally, all texting and driving tickets result in the accumulation of two traffic record demerit points.
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving in Alabama
According to national distracted driving facts, preoccupied motorists claimed the lives of 3,450 individuals during the 2016 year. In addition to the deadly consequences of cell phone distraction while driving, those who are caught violating these laws are subject to receiving traffic tickets as well as the accumulation of driving record demerit points. Therefore, it is important to reduce distractions as often as possible, starting with the use of mobile telecommunications devices. To prevent cell phone use while driving, motorists may:
- Mount their mobile devices to their vehicle’s dashboard, making it easier to use the phone’s voice-activated features.
- Turn the mobile devices on silent and/or hide the device in their vehicle’s trunk or glovebox whenever the automobile is in use.
- Enter their desired coordinates into the phone’s GPS system before putting the vehicle into drive.
- Download and use a call- and text-blocking phone application.
- Use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth if they wish to talk on the phone while driving a vehicle.
- Pull their vehicle off the road if they need to use their wireless device.