Distracted Driving in Alabama
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, you may have noticed the other driver focused on other things, such as applying lipstick or searching for something in their car. Especially in the age of the cell phone, distracted driving has become more commonplace across the country within recent years.
Beyond talking or texting on a cell phone, the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Drive Safe Alabama campaign lists many different sources of distractions while driving including:
- Chatting with passengers
- Using the radio
- Watching a video
- Using a GPS or navigation system
It has been reported that most highway car accidents (over 90 percent) have been due to driver error, the driver’s mental state, a lack of attention or knowledge, poor judgment, or one’s physical condition. Driving may feel like second nature, but we have all seen drivers who are multitasking on the highway or on city streets instead of having their full attention on driving.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes. One report states that a driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to cause a car accident than a driver who is not texting. Teenagers are also more likely to be distracted drivers in general, due to their lack of experience. Specifically, a University of Michigan report stated that one-quarter of teen drivers will respond to texts at least once, if not multiple times, while driving.
The Staggering Car Accident Statistics
Driving in Alabama is usually a necessity. Many of us need cars to get around: to our places of employment, to school, to the grocery store, for other errands, and for places of leisure. Drivers want to get to their destinations safely, but issues like distracted driving make it harder to do so. The 2014 Alabama Crash Facts report and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan has some sobering statistics of how often people get into car accidents.
- In 2014, a car crash was reported every 240 seconds (every 4 minutes).
- In the lifetime of an Alabama driver, the chance of being involved in a car accident which involves an injury or a fatality is over 33 percent.
- Most car accident fatalities (58 percent) involved unrestrained occupants (people not wearing seat belts).
- Almost half (49 percent) of crashes occurred during the nighttime (from dusk until dawn).
- Most car crashes happened in urban areas while most crash fatalities happened in rural areas.
- A car crash fatality occurred every 606 minutes.
- Alabama had a higher car crash fatality rate than the national average.
Alabama Laws on Distracted Driving
Because teenagers and younger drivers are more likely to engage in distracted driving, legislation was passed in 2011 to prohibit teens aged 16 or 17 who have an intermediate license (i.e., a Stage I restricted license or a Stage II unrestricted license) from using any cell phone, whether handheld or hands-free, for 6 months.
Beyond that law, Alabama passed a law in 2012 that prohibits texting while driving. The first offense yields a $25 fine plus 2 demerits on one’s license. The second offense draws a $50 fine, and the third offense draws a $75 fine.
Even Hands-Free Cellphones Can Cause Distracted Driving
Although Alabama has a no texting while driving ban, that doesn’t include hands-free usage of a cellphone or other voice-activated devices in a vehicle. It may seem better because a driver isn’t necessarily looking at or typing on a cell phone screen while driving. But the issue is similar to what happens when a driver is talking to passengers—he or she becomes mentally distracted, according to a AAA study.
Contact Our Experienced Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you have been involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, the law offices of Smith & McGhee, P.C. can help you prove who is at fault and provide you with expert legal advice. A car crash can be a life-changing experience, and we have experienced personal injury attorneys who specialize in the intricacies of Alabama law and will advocate for you. You do not have to face the challenges and complexities that come with an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit alone. Contact the experienced and skilled Alabama auto accident attorneys at Smith & McGhee today at (334) 702-1744 and we will provide you with a consultation and examine your case. Let us know how we can help.