Birmingham Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyers
Alabama Distracted Driving Laws
Every day in the U.S. more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured due to accidents reportedly caused by a distracted driver. Drivers can become distracted by a number of things both inside and outside the vehicle. Any one of these can cause a serious road accident. Distracted driving, whatever the cause, is dangerous and increases the risk of an auto accident.
- Texting or using a hand-held mobile phone. Texting is completely prohibited for commercial truck drivers and they may only use a hands-free phone which is located close by.
- Smoking. Lighting a cigarette, smoking and putting ash in the tray are all serious driving distractions.
- Eating and drinking. A driver who is eating or drinking is 3.6 times more likely to cause an accident.
- Reading or using maps. This creates a dangerous driving distraction because the driver's attention is drawn from the road.
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player. Even looking away from the road for just a few seconds can lead to fatal mistakes.
- Outside distractions. Objects, persons or events outside the car can be dangerous distractions.
- Substance abuse. Using drugs or alcohol when driving will seriously impair the driver's ability and concentration.
Essentially, drivers are not allowed to use any type of text-based communication advice while driving. This also includes using GPS apps or devices while the vehicle is in motion and while the driver is operating the vehicle. Interestingly, the law does not mention video chatting, gaming, or streaming.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
There are many forms of distracted driving, though texting and driving is undoubtedly one of the most predominant problems on the road. In fact, it is such a serious issue that campaigns now exist imploring drivers to set their phones aside for the sake of their own safety and the safety of others.
Why is texting and driving dangerous? We compiled a few reasons below:
- It diverts your attention from the road: If you are reading or responding to a text, the fact is that you will have to look away from the road. Even if it is only for a matter of seconds, this can still lead to a terrible, even fatal accident. On average, a driver looks away from the road for about five seconds to send or read a message. This might not sound like enough time for something to go wrong, but if you are traveling about 55 miles per hour, it is all you need to drive a distance that is equal to a football field. If your eyes are not on the road during that time, imagine just how much can potentially go wrong. Texting while driving increases the chance of a crash by 23 times, so wait until you are safely parked or out of your vehicle before reading or responding to a text.
- Texting involves all three types of distracted driving: While there are many different forms of distracted driving, they generally fall into three types of categories – manual, cognitive, and visual. When you text and drive, you cover all three types. Texting while driving requires you to take your eyes off the road, use one or both hands to use the phone, and it requires your mind to focus on the message you are reading or sending out. It is no wonder that texting while driving is almost decidedly the most distracting and dangerous behavior you could partake in while on the road.
- Texting while driving often leads to fatal accidents: Although not every accident that involves texting leads to a fatality, a fair amount of them do. In fact, According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use leads to 1.6 million crashes every year and texting while driving is 6 times more likely to result in a crash than drunk driving. If drivers engage in safer driving practices and set their phones aside while operating a motor vehicle, these deaths are entirely preventable. If you have trouble resisting the temptation of responding to messages, there are apps available that can silence notifications on your phone until you are no longer driving.
Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
Alabama has a number of laws in place to help prevent distracted driving. These include:
- Primary law prohibiting all cell phone use – both handheld and hands-free – for bus drivers.
- Primary law prohibiting all cell phone use – both handheld and hands-free – for all drivers under the age of 18.
- Primary law prohibiting texting for drivers of all ages.
A primary law is one that allows the officer to stop a vehicle, whereas under secondary laws, an officer must have another reason to stop a vehicle before citing a driving for using a cellphone. Blue Tooth technology or hands-free devices are allowed for drivers who are age 19 and older. The penalty for texting while driving is $25 for the first offense, then $50 then $75. The driver will also receive two points against his or her license each time.
Tips for Driving Safely
- Ask for advice: If you are just learning to drive, ask your parents or driving instructor for tips on how to minimize driving distractions and advice for how to stay focused while you drive.
- Focus on driving: Remember, distracted driving doesn't just involve cell phones. You can easily become distracted while chatting, looking at objects or people, eating or performing tasks that are not related to driving. Tell your friends and family that you will not be answering calls or text messages while you are driving.
- Be a helpful passenger: Even when you're a passenger you can help the driver avoid becoming distracted. If you are riding with a friend or family member who is talking or texting on a cell phone or being distracted in another way, speak up and remind them to focus on their driving. Warn them of the dangers of distracted driving. Encourage your friends and family to stay focused while driving. Offer to help them manage their cellphone or to turn it off.
What To Do if You Have Been Injured by a Distracted or Reckless Driver in Alabama
If you have been injured as a result of negligence on the part of a distracted or reckless driver, you have the legal right to be compensated for your injury. At Guster Law Firm, LLC we firmly believe that reckless drivers should be held responsible for their actions. Backed by over 40 years of combined legal experience, you can be confident in our ability to protect your interests and obtain the compensation you deserve and need to move past this traumatic experience.
Contact our Birmingham car accident lawyers at (205) 386-6844 or by completing an online form so we can help you get the damages you deserve and get your life back into swing.