Alabama Becomes Most Recent State to Ban Texting While Driving

Many factors come into play when discussing car and truck accidents caused by distracted driving. Chief among those causes is texting while driving, a serious safety concern that has led many states to ban it. With the signature of Gov. Robert Bentley in early May 2012, Alabama became the latest state to criminalize texting while driving. The majority of states, 38 including Alabama, have banned texting while driving.

Distracted Driving Risks

According to al.com, distracted driving caused more than 10 percent of all traffic accidents in Alabama in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Many of these truck and car accidents, which the University of Alabama's Center for Advanced Public Safety estimated at 14,000 in total, were linked to drivers texting while their vehicles were moving; 132 people were killed, and 4,380 suffered injuries. Alabama's response aims to reduce these numbers dramatically.

Experts consider using a cell phone while driving as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, texting while driving delays human reaction time on par with having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A Department of Transportation report found that texting makes drivers' risk of accidents 23 times worse than normal.

Forms of Distracted Driving

In addition to texting on a smartphone or other mobile device, distracted driving includes the following common but dangerous activities:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking to passengers
  • Using a GPS navigation system
  • Adjusting the radio or using an MP3 player
  • Eating
  • Reading

Alabama's new texting law makes exceptions for texting for emergency services and sending a text while parked, stopped or in neutral. Penalties for violating the texting ban in Alabama include fines of $25 for the first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for third or subsequent offenses.

Drivers and passengers who have suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver should contact a skilled personal injury attorney who can evaluate their case and aggressively advocate on their behalf if another driver can potentially be held liable.