If you’re like many Alabama residents, communicating via cell phone is simply a way of live. Cell phone conversations, texting and wireless Internet surfing has largely replaced traditional means of communication for teens and adults alike. However, engaging in these forms of communication while driving can substantially increase your risk of injuries or death from a motor vehicle accident.
Numerous states have passed “distracted driving” laws in an effort to keep drivers from talking on cell phones, surfing the Internet and texting while operating a vehicle. Currently, Alabama only prohibits these forms of communication for drivers under 18 years of age.
If you are over the age of 18, there are currently no statutory penalties for texting, browsing the Internet or having a cell phone conversation while operating a vehicle on Alabama roadways. Keep in mind, though, that Alabama legislators have repeatedly proposed legislation to ban these activities and provide penalties for Alabama drivers.
Recent Alabama state legislation has proposed fines for texting while driving. Although these legislative acts have not specifically addressed Internet surfing, the intent of these proposed laws would likely include Internet browsing while operating a motor vehicle. It would also likely apply to the use of mobile applications, such as games and other downloads.
While no legislation has currently been passed in Alabama for adult drivers, it is important to remember that operating a mobile device while driving endangers both you and other motorists on Alabama roads. While text messaging and Internet surfing is as important to Alabama residents as it is to residents of any other state, no text, Tweet or Internet search is worth injury or death.
Also, keep in mind that while texting and Internet surfing are not yet banned on the state level, several jurisdictions in Alabama have local laws that ban texting and similar mobile communication activities. For example, Montgomery, Huntsville and Birmingham all have passed local laws prohibiting mobile communication, other than hands-free cell-phone voice conversations. Several other jurisdictions have passed, or are evaluating, similar laws to help protect Alabama drivers from distracted driving-related injuries.