Texting While Driving Banned in Alabama

This week Alabama joined 37 other states and banned texting while driving. The law goes into effect on August 1, 2012.  The fine for violating the law is $25 for a first-time offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense.  Although these amounts are nothing more than a slap on the wrist, the law at least sends the message that texting while driving should not be done.

Texting has become a national pastime (about 200 billion texts in the United States per month), and driving while texting is extremely dangerous1:

  • Texting while driving creates a crash risk that is 23 times greater than when a driver is not distracted;
  • Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, long enough for a driver going 55 miles-per-hour to drive the entire length of a football field;
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves; and
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.

Interstate Truck Drivers Banned from Texting and
Any Cell Phone Use While Driving

 Although there are still a few states that have not banned texting while driving, commercial drivers in interstate transportation (semi truck drivers, tour bus drivers, etc.) are not allowed to text while driving (or use a cell phone at all) throughout the United States.

In November of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a rule banning commercial drivers from using a cell phone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

1. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Category: Accidents
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