Should Alabama ban cellphone use when driving?

cellphone law AL - Martinson & Beason, P.C.In 2011, 3,331 Americans were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, up from 3,267 in 2010. 387,000 people were also injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

For drivers 15-19 years old in the fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cellphones.

Do these numbers shock you? Sadly, they probably confirm what you already know: cellphone use and driving often ends poorly.

Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; at 55-mph, this is like driving the length of a football field—blind.

In Alabama, there is a ban on all cellphone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (someone 16 to 17 years old who has held an intermediate license for less than six months). Text messaging has been banned for all drivers since August 2012.

While this may be a great place to begin, many believe cellphone use while driving should be banned for all drivers, regardless of age. While a quarter of teens respond to at least one text every time they drive, 10 percent of parents admit they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

Obviously, the problem extends far beyond 16-17-year-old “novice” drivers.

In some states, like New York, there is a handheld ban for all drivers, as well as a ban on texting.

Fines for texting and driving in Alabama aren’t exactly steep—$25 for a first offense, $50 for a second, and $75 for a third. On a third offense, a driver in Alabama receives two penalty points on their driver’s license, as well as a possible auto insurance hike.

Do you believe Alabama should ban the use of handheld devices while driving?

For more information on cellphone use while driving, or if you have any questions pertaining your own driving record in Alabama, contact the attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. today.