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Why Alabama’s distracted driving law falls short

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Auto Accidents

Alabama has a very clear law about phone use while driving. The law makes it a traffic infraction to manually input data into a mobile phone or similar device while driving. In fact, the definition of distracted driving under the current law in Alabama is quite thorough.

It is illegal to physically hold a device or read from it, just like it’s illegal to type out a message while driving. Despite how clear and thorough the law is about digital distraction, it does not go nearly far enough to protect the public from the dangers of distracted driving.

It only addresses digital distraction

The primary issue with the current law against texting while driving is that it fails to acknowledge other forms of distracted driving. Distraction caused by mobile phones is a major safety concern, but it is far from the only kind of distraction on the road.

Drivers can also become distracted due to eating and drinking at the wheel. If they drop something while enjoying a snack, for example, they could burn themselves or react instinctually, possibly by slamming on their brakes or jerking on their steering wheel. Eating and drinking typically force someone to take at least one of their hands off of the steering wheel.

Grooming oneself is another common form of distraction. Playing with one’s hair, putting on a tie or even shaving while driving are all dangerous distractions that could lead to people overlooking changing traffic conditions. Even conversations with passengers or through a hands-free headset could be enough of a distraction to lead to a preventable collision.

The law in Alabama does not prohibit these very common forms of distraction or allow police officers to stop and ticket people for eating at the wheel or other forms of distraction. Since the law does not specifically address these mistakes, many people assume that there is nothing wrong with continuing unsafe personal practices.

Drivers may still encounter countless highly-distracted motorists every day even if they don’t spot anyone with a phone in their hands. If a distracted driver causes a crash, then the other people involved in the wreck may have grounds to take legal action against them. Holding someone accountable for a wreck might involve an insurance claim or possibly even a civil lawsuit. As a result, crash victims generally benefit from seeking legal guidance as soon as they have sustained harm.