More than nine people are killed in the United States, and over 1,153 individuals sustain injuries daily due to crashes reportedly caused by distracted motorists. Various things, both outside and inside the vehicle, can be distracting to a driver. Such distractions can lead to serious road accidents. Distracted driving is hazardous and increases the chances of a vehicle crash, regardless of the cause of the distraction.
Texting or using a handheld cell phone: It is entirely disallowed for commercial truck drivers to engage in texting when driving. They may only use a hands-free phone, which is within easy reach.
Smoking: It is a serious hazard to light a cigarette, smoke, and put ash in the tray.
Eating and drinking: A motorist who is eating or drinking behind the wheel is 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a wreck.
Reading or using maps: As the attention of a motorist is drawn from the road when reading or using maps, it causes a hazardous driving distraction.
Adjusting an MP3 player, CD player, or radio: Taking the focus off the road even for a few seconds can cause deadly errors.
External distractions: People, objects, or events outside the vehicle can present dangerous distractions.
The Hazards of Distracted Driving
Any time a driver takes their focus off the road or other vehicles around them, they cause a threat to themselves and others on the road. Statistics on the issue serve to highlight just how wide-spread distracted driving is on our streets and roadways.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that more than nine people lose their lives, and another 1,060 are injured every day in the country due to accidents resulting from distracted driving. The three main types of distractions while driving include:
Manual, involving taking your hands off the steering wheel
Visual, involving taking your eyes off the road
Cognitive, involving taking your mind off of driving
All of the above types of distractions are hazardous and can cause a major auto accident.
Texting and Driving Laws and Limitations in Alabama
Under Alabama law, there are various provisions in place to prevent distracted driving. These include the following:
Primary law banning all mobile phone use (both hands-free and handheld) for bus drivers
Primary law banning all mobile phone use (both hands-free and handheld) for motorists below the age of 18
Primary law banning texting for motorists of all ages
A primary law allows the police officer to stop a vehicle. But under secondary laws, a law enforcement officer must have another cause to stop a vehicle before citing a driving for cell phone use. For drivers aged 19 and older, hands-free devices or Blue Tooth technology are allowed.
In Alabama, there are limitations to the use of electronic devices in vehicles. Teenage motorists below the age of 18 are prohibited from using any mobile electronic device when behind the wheel. If a teenage driver is apprehended for using an electronic device, they can face up to $350 in fines, court costs, suspension of their driver’s license, or additional driver’s training requirements.
Alabama laws on texting and driving for adults is more complex, and it only covers devices such as computers and smartphones, along with older devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). The law in Alabama does not cover hardwired screens such as in-dash “infotainment” devices.
Besides, the prohibitions on electronic distractions in Alabama are quite limited. Per Alabama law, adults cannot read, write, or send a text-based communication when behind the wheel. Moreover, it is unlawful to program an address into a GPS or device when operating a vehicle.
But the law does not address video games, streaming services, or chat apps. Summarily, while adult motorists cannot post on social media platforms or check their email when driving, it is technically permissible for them to engage in equally dangerous behaviors such as playing Candy Crush or binge-watching television. The state law allows motorists to dial phone numbers when operating a vehicle as well as view their GPS and onboard infotainment devices.
Alabama law does not provide for additional standards for commercial drivers, such as those who operate 18-wheelers, school buses, and delivery trucks. Many other states require commercial drivers to use their devices in a hands-free mode.
The distracted driving laws in the state are lax, and the associated penalties are minor. First-time adult offenders will be fined only $25, while repeat violators will face a fine of up to $75 per incident. For each offense, you will also receive two points on your license.
Distracted Driving is Considered Negligent Behavior
When driving on the road, we have a responsibility to each other to exercise reasonable caution. An individual who becomes distracted and takes their focus away from driving could put others in danger and fail to uphold that duty which is at the core of what it means to display negligent behavior.
In effect, this means that an officer can pull a motorist over and issue them a ticket for texting when behind the wheel. If a person is texting and causes an accident that injures you or a loved one, you could use evidence of the motorist’s violation to show negligence on their part.
Collecting Evidence and Establishing Distracted Driving
When you entrust your case to the skilled car accident attorneys at Zach Peagler Law Firm, we immediately begin the process of gathering evidence. Our experienced legal team will investigate the circumstances and facts that caused your accident. To show that the other motorist was texting or otherwise distracted, the evidence may include the following:
The absence of any skid or brake marks
A phone located in the front seat or on the floorboard
Food or beverage spilled in the driver’s seat or lap
Recent mobile phone or social media activity at the time of the accident
At the law offices of Zach Peagler, we work with highly trained investigators and consult seasoned accident reconstruction experts to strengthen our bargaining position for our clients.
Goal-Oriented Personal Injury Lawyers
Due to our extensive experience and skill, we offer legal representation to victims who sustain various types of injuries due to the recklessness and negligence of a distracted driver. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident involving a distracted motorist, the skilled attorneys at Zach Peagler Law Firm can help.
We will work hard to hold the at-fault party responsible for your damages. Call us at (205) 871-9990 to schedule a no-obligation appointment with a qualified personal injury attorney.
The following language is required pursuant to Rule 7.2, Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.