2,841 deaths. 400,000 people hurt.
What caused this alarming number of deaths and injuries in 2018? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was distracted driving. (source)
In 2012, the Alabama legislature passed a law banning texting and driving to help make our roads safer. But what exactly does the law include? Read on to find out exactly what Alabama’s distracted driving law means for you.
Alabama’s Texting and Driving Law
Alabama Reckless Driving Law: Alabama Code § 32-5A-350
What the Alabama Distracted Driving Law Says
In Alabama, it is against the law to:
- use a cellphone or similar device to send or receive “text-based communications” while operating a car on a public road
What exactly does “text-based communications” mean?
- text messages
- instant or direct messages
How can you use your cell phone while driving in Alabama?
While driving, you are allowed to:
- read, select, or enter a phone number to make a call
- send and receive messages with voice-operated devices (like a Bluetooth headset)
What happens if you break the law:
If you are caught texting while driving in Alabama, you could be fined for reckless driving:
- $25.00 your first time
- $50.00 your second time
- $75.00 for your third or more violations
That’s right! A reckless driving ticket in Alabama could cost up to $75 per incident.
Not only will you pay a fine, but you could be sued.
The dangers of texting while driving are widely accepted, and it is against the law. That means it can be used as evidence of wanton or reckless conduct in a civil lawsuit.
What does that mean? If you cause an accident while texting and driving and hurt someone, a jury may return a verdict for punitive or exemplary damages.
When Can You Be Pulled Over for Distracted Driving?
The police can stop you and issue a ticket if you are texting while driving, even if the driver is following all of the other rules of the road at the time.
Exceptions to Alabama’s Distracted Driving Law
Don’t worry. You don’t need to lock your phone away while driving. There are some specific ways you are allowed to use your phone while driving.
Sending or receiving text-based communications when driving a car is allowed when a person is:
- Using a phone to obtain emergency services, including calls to the police, fire department, or healthcare providers
- Using a device when their automobile is parked on the shoulder of the road
- Using a device for navigation to receive directions when the device has been pre-programmed with coordinates. That means you need to have your GPS all set with your destination BEFORE you start driving.
Hurt By Reckless Driving?
At Timberlake & League, we have seen the tragic results of reckless driving far too many times. If you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver that was texting, we can help.