Distracted driving is a serious problem wherever you go, and while texting and driving isn’t the only form of distracted driving, it’s definitely one of the major ones!
Alabama has had laws since 2012 prohibiting texting while driving as well as searching the internet on a mobile device while driving.
However, that’s not all you need to know about how cellphone use and driving intersect in Alabama.
Alabama’s Texting and Driving Laws for Teen Drivers
The rules for texting while driving are a little different for teenagers in Alabama. Any driver under the age of 18 with a Stage II license can’t legally use a handheld cellphone while driving. This applies to not only texts and emails, but calls and all other uses as well!
Studies show that teenagers are more likely to be involved in distracted driving accidents that involve texting than other age groups. A 2019 CDC Youth Risk Behavior survey revealed that 39% of high school students admitted to texting or sending an email while driving at least once in the past 30 days.
What’s This About a Cell Phone Ban?
A bill was introduced in 2019 that would have made it illegal in Alabama for any driver, not just drivers under the age of 18, to use a handheld mobile device while driving. This would include not only texting, talking, and searching the internet, but also using apps, taking photos and video, playing mobile games, and so on.
While the bill made it through the state House, it was not approved by the Alabama Senate. So that means, for now at least, talking on your phone in the car is still legal.
However, proponents of “hands-free” laws point to the fact that since Georgia passed a hands-free law in 2018, the state has seen fewer distracted driving deaths. It’s likely that another push to adopt hands-free driving laws in Alabama may be coming soon!
Are there Exceptions to the Texting While Driving Law?
Yes, you may legally use your cell phone to text in the following circumstances:
- Contacting emergency services (like police or paramedics)
- When legally parked or pulled over on the shoulder of the road
- Using a pre-programmed GPS (programming an address into your GPS while driving is still illegal)
What’s the Penalty for Texting and Driving in Alabama?
If a police officer spots you texting while behind the wheel, be prepared to be pulled over and issued a ticket for reckless driving! Texting while driving is considered a primary offense, meaning you don’t need to be doing anything besides texting and driving (like speeding) to get pulled over.
A first offense will cost you $25. Second offenses are $50, and each offense after will cost you $75. You’ll also get two points on your license per offense. Accrue 12 points on your license in a two-year period, and you could end up getting your license suspended.
Fines are more severe for teenagers under the age of 18, who could face fines ranging from $150 to $350.
However, fines and points aren’t the only consequences of distracted driving. When distracted drivers cause accidents, they can be held liable for not only the damage they cause to other vehicles, but also any injuries they cause to other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Were You Injured By a Distracted Driver?
Using your phone while driving is distracting and dangerous, even when it’s not illegal. If you were injured by someone who was calling, texting, playing mobile games, or doing anything besides keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we know how serious accidents can be, and when they’re caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t be left footing the bill. Call us today to speak to an experienced Alabama auto accident attorney about your case for free.