Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys in Mobile, ALLet’s face it. Driving a car is not always the most exciting thing in the world. Ever since driver’s education, you’ve learned to keep your hands at the 10 and 2 positions and look ahead and pay attention to everything in your view. That’s what happens in an ideal world.
But in the real world, there are more than 159,000 car accidents every year in Alabama, according to the state, and many of them are caused by some form of distracted driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about one-quarter of all car accidents are the result of distracted driving to some degree.
What is Distracted Driving and Are You Doing It?
Consider how many ways you can be distracted while driving. You may be distracted by what is happening inside or outside of the vehicle, or you could be lost in thought, simply distracted by the list of things you have to do that day.
Other forms of distracted driving include:
- Turning your head to talk to someone in the car or even the back seat
- Trying to retrieve something on the floor or in the console
- Tuning the radio
- Eating and drinking or smoking
- Grooming including eye makeup, hair combing, lipstick application
- Shaving (Yes, that happens)
- And perhaps the biggest distraction of all – Cell Phone Use!
If you do any of the above, you are driving distracted.
Cell Phones and Distraction
Whether talking on the phone, texting, or taking a selfie, we all know it when we see it – a person drifting out of his lane, suddenly jerking the steering wheel back, or heading toward an oncoming car or a curb.
The reality is smart phones have been around for several years now, and they have become an extension of our everyday lives.
One study estimates we check our devices about 52 times a day. That means they have become sort of a compulsion by many, especially younger drivers.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC) about one-quarter of the 100 deaths everyday on our roads are the result of distracted driving. These are preventable deaths!
Traveling at 55 mph, checking your cell phone for even five seconds will allow you to cover the length of a football field. Imagine what may be in your way during that five seconds?
Talking on the phone is one thing. Texting is quite another. Unfortunately, our young drivers are the most susceptible to texting while driving.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports the death rate for teen drivers in Alabama is three times greater than for drivers over the age of 20.
According to the Virginia Tech
Transportation Institute, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into
a crash than a non-texting driver. Distracted driving is responsible for more
than 58% of teen crashes, according to AAA.
Unfortunately, The Journal of Adolescent Health reports 43% of teen drivers are still texting while driving.
This dangerous habit is part of the reason Alabama has the second highest fatal car accident rate in the United States!
Alabama Law on Distracted Driving
Alabama has no law that prohibits talking on a cellphone while driving. The exception is if the driver is under the age of 18. That driver with a Stage II restricted driver’s license cannot even hold any communication device while operating a vehicle.
However, the laws on texting are stricter. In Alabama, the law prevents all drivers from using a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle. That includes texting, writing, or even reading a text message, email, or instant message.
Alabama became the 38th state in the country to ban texting while behind the wheel.
Any driver violating the law is facing a ticket of $25 for a first violation up to $75 for a third or subsequent violation. Also points will be added to his license.
If the driver who is using an electronic device happens to get into an accident that leads to injury or death, he could be charged with reckless driving or vehicular homicide.
For younger drivers, the fines are a bit steeper. Any driver under the age of 18 will face a fine ranging from $150 to $350 with two points added to his driving record if he is caught texting while driving.
Points added to your driving record means you likely will pay more for insurance and you may lose your good driver discounts.
The state does not limit cellphone use to talking while driving, except for teen drivers. Blue tooth technology or hands-free is allowed for all drivers ages 19 and older.
And there are exceptions for emergency service such as police or paramedics who are allowed to use their phones while driving. Another exception include using a GPS like Google Maps while driving.
That is still allowed even though it clearly contributes to distracted driving.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Alabama’s laws on distracted driving are quite lenient in that it is only illegal to text while driving while you can still send and receive texts at a red light, hold your phone or use blue tooth or a headset while driving.
But again, these are preventable accidents so shouldn’t we all do our best to avoid being distracted while driving?
Take driving seriously, even though it might be a bit boring. Imagine the impact a car accident can have on your life and the life of your loved one.
How to limit distracted driving:
- Keep your eyes on the road at all time
- Put your cell phone in the console or your purse, out of reach
- Avoid talking while driving
- Keep both hands on the wheel
- Do not drive when you are tired
- Avoid driving when on drugs or alcohol, even prescription drugs can alter your perceptions and attention span
- Avoid getting into an argument with someone on the phone (blue tooth) or in the car while driving
- Avoid gawking at an accident on the side of the road
- If you need to check your cell phone, pull off the road
- When driving a long distance, stop and stretch in regularly scheduled breaks
Your Mobile Car Accident Attorney
J. Allen Brown will consult with you after your car accident. We will investigate the cause for your collision and investigate the conditions that may have contributed to the crash. Please be aware that in Alabama the law allows the insurer for the other side to claim pure contributory negligence.
That means they will argue that you contributed to your own accident. Their goal is to prevent you from any recovery for your loss which may include property damage, injury, pain and suffering, and medical bills and recovery.
This is one of many reasons you need an experienced automobile accident lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Message us online or call the office of J. Allan Brown at 251-220-3199 for a complimentary review of your case.