According to the Alabama police, there were roughly 159,925 crashes in the year 2018 — that’s an average of 438 crashes per day. Most of these crashes can be attributed to distracted driving or driving while on the phone.
This is why taking steps to prevent mistakes like this is important if you’re behind the wheel.
In an attempt to reduce and even eliminate the problem of distracted driving, the state of Alabama has created laws and regulations prohibiting texting while driving.
If you’ve recently gotten your license and are unaware of the laws surrounding texting while driving in Alabama, don’t worry.
Today, we discuss the texting while driving laws in Alabama, why it’s important, and how you can easily incorporate it into your own driving habit.
Let’s get started!
Texting While Driving Laws in Alabama
You’d be surprised to know that not all states prohibit texting while driving.
That said, Alabama is one of the many states that have laws against texting while driving. These laws started in 2012 when Alabama became the 38th state to ban distracted driving.
The state attempted to create a law that prohibited all types of handheld cell phone use for drivers. However, it did not get the support it needed from the Senate.
To compromise, though, they were able to push through with some laws. These are:
- Texting or SNS messaging by all drivers is illegal
- Under 18-year-olds are not allowed to use a cellphone and other hands-free devices while driving
So if you’re above 18 years old, you can use a cellphone, but not for the purpose of texting. Still, even though it isn’t a law, it’s a wise idea to avoid using your phone and diverting your eyes away from the road.
Texting While Driving Penalties in Alabama
If drivers are caught violating the texting while driving laws in Alabama, a corresponding fine will be applied. For adults, the following fees will apply once law enforcement catches you texting while driving:
- Drivers must pay a fine of $25 for the first offense
- Drivers must pay a fine of $50 for the second offense
- Drivers must pay a fine of $75 for the third offense
Note: Subsequent violations after the third will be fined $75. You may also receive a citation from law enforcement.
Drivers under the age of 18 who violates the texting while driving law in Alabama are considered traffic violators. Thus, fees may range from $150 to $350. Plus, they also get 2 demerit points on their driving record.
Texting While Driving Exceptions in Alabama
As we mentioned, there are a couple of exceptions to the laws of distracted driving in Alabama. For instance, if a driver needs emergency care or assistance, law enforcement can’t fine or cite their cellphone use.
If you’re parked on the shoulder of a highway, street, or road, you won’t be fined by law enforcement.
Finally, if you’re using your cellphone or other hand-free devices to navigate your location or receive directions, your actions will be exempted from the code.
How to Be Safe If You Must Use Your Cellphone
There may be instances where you’ll need to use your cellphone while driving. If so, the following tips can help you stay safe while on the road:
Know your phone’s features
Smartphones nowadays have a variety of features (e.g., voice command, automatic redials, and speed dials) that you can easily access without taking your attention off the road. Familiarize yourself with them, so you won’t have to take your hands off the wheel and risk your life or your passenger’s life, say, for a phone call.
Don’t be afraid to hang up
If you’re in an area or position where talking on the phone may get you into an accident, hang up on the call immediately. The same goes for when you’re driving in particularly hazardous weather e.g., heavy rain, severe snow, or thick sleet.
You want to have all your attention on the road. That way you’ll be able to react to any situation must quicker.
Avoid stressful conversations
Driving while feeling heavy emotions such as anger or sadness can distract you from your responsibilities as a driver.
So, once you pick up the call, immediately tell the other person that you’re driving. That way they know to be careful about what they say or how they say something.
If you feel yourself starting to get upset over some news or a conversation, hang up the phone and take a deep breath.
Only use your phone for emergencies and other important calls
In general, you only ever want to use your phone while driving if the situation is life or death. Otherwise, you can let go of any calls or texts that come into your phone. You don’t want to end up in a car accident for something that’s not even important.
Importance of Texting While Driving Laws
Distracted driving or texting and making calls while driving is the most common reason for car accidents in Alabama. It doesn’t just put your life on the line but it also puts the lives of many of the drivers on the road at risk.
Without proper precautions, distracted driving accidents can lead to minor and sever physical injuries, and even death.
Laws that prohibit texting while driving are in place to ensure that everyone is safe and secure while on the road. Additionally, law enforcement officers are there to catch violators in the act as well as discourage other illegal driving activities. Again, this is all to ensure everyone’s safety and security on the road.
Distracted driving can be deadly… And yet it is also so preventable.
So make sure you follow the texting while driving laws in Alabama.
To add to that, make sure you avoid using your phone at all times while driving. Even if it isn’t a law per se, doesn’t mean you can put yourself and others at risk.
Although calling or texting while driving is considered dangerous, there are instances when it can’t be prevented. In that case, following the driver safety tips we’ve mentioned above should help improve your driving experience and keep you safe.
This article is part of our series on Alabama Driving Laws. You can view all these laws here!